Event planners’ works are never done — not even when the event itself is over. There is so much planning involved in organizing an event that it’s so tempting to congratulate ourselves just for reaching the finish line.
WHAT IS DEBRIEF ?
The term “debrief” is a series of questions about a completed mission or undertaking.
This usually indicates a staff meeting held to discuss an event after the doors have closed, but sometimes it is also used to describe surveys and other forms of polling designed for gathering feedback. Ultimately, these surveys/polls should help to inform your debrief meeting, so the two approaches work hand in hand.
Both senses of the term “debrief” relate to the basic principle of assessing an event’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, but it is helpful to think of them as different stages in the process.
This kind of post-event analysis is a vital step in learning to streamline your process and develop best practices that reflect feedback from attendees and stakeholders alike.
If you want to develop a firm grasp on the strategies that were most helpful in achieving your event’s objectives, you will need to conduct a post-event analysis. It is all about learning to build on your past experiences to ensure continued success in the future.
We know what brought you here. Let’s get right to it! Here is a list of debrief questions designed to give you actionable insights. If you want even more tips on how to debrief better, you’ll find those below.
SOME IDEAS FOR YOUR EVENT’S DEBRIEF QUESTIONS
You won’t get far if you don’t have any idea of questions to ask during the debrief.
You ask questions based on the objectives you set out for the event. If your team developed a series of action items at the end of last year’s event, were you able to successfully implement them this year? For example, if you organized a fundraising for orphanages, did you achieve the expected levels of attendee participation? Establish if your goals were met, and consider what steps contributed to your success or failure.
Honest and accurate feedback allows you to make better business decisions about each event you organize. A debrief enquires a concrete list of what worked, what didn’t, and what relevant people (your attendees, sponsors, vendors, etc.) want to see at your next event. Debriefs are the prelude to event improvement over time.
BREAKDOWN ON DEBRIEF PROCESS; THE FRONT END AND THE BACK END.
A good way to break down your debriefing process is to define it in terms of the “front end” and the “back end” review of the event.
Following this method, the front end relates to the attendee experience, while the back end pertains to all the work that goes on behind the scenes.
QUESTIONS FOR YOUR EVENT DEBRIEF: THE FRONT END
For your front-end debrief, you want to cover all areas that may affect the attendee experience. The questions that you ask attendees should be very similar to the ones your team needs to be asking itself about the front-end experience. The same principle holds true for the questions that you ask stakeholders.
Post-event evaluation questions are the best way to gain valuable feedback from your attendees and stakeholders. Knowing how they feel about your services is the first step in improving your business model. Read the list below to review possible questions for your front-end debrief.
Was your registration process convenient?
Did the pre-event marketing team give you materials which give accurate ideas about the event?
Was our agenda clear enough? Was our website ticketing platform easy to navigate?
Were there any frustrating scheduling conflicts that prevented you from taking advantage of all the available offerings?
Were the presentations and other sessions thoughtfully organized into different tracks?
Were there enough networking activities incorporated into the agenda? Did the event provide a convenient way for you to set up meetings with relevant business prospects? If there was a smart matchmaking service, did its features actually help to facilitate useful connections? What could be done better?
Did speaker sessions and other activities have a practical educational benefit? What new thing did you learn?
Did workshops provide enough hands-on engagement? Did you have a chance to ask questions or receive one-on-one support? What should we work on next time?
Were the presentations as engaging as you were informed?
Did you feel emotionally engaged in any narratives that were shared during presentations? Did the event’s message get to you?
Were you aware of the event’s online presence? Did you actively post about the event on social media? If not, what could be done to encourage more online engagement?
Did you participate in any entertainment or wellness activities? Did they meet your expectations?
If you provided an event app, what were the adoption rates? Is there any way that the experience could be made more user friendly? Are there any new features that you would like to see incorporated into next year’s app?
Were the catering options inadequate, adequate, or exceptional? If you have special dietary requirements, were your needs adequately accommodated?
Did attendees know where to seek customer service support? Were these services sufficiently helpful?
FOR PARTNERS AND SPONSORS
Did the event provide sufficient opportunity to engage your target audience?
Did the event’s messaging correspond with your company’s core values and goals?
Did the event’s floor plan position your signage and/or booth in an optimal position? Was the layout organized in a way that facilitated efficient business networking?
Did the number of leads and conversions that you achieved meet your expectations? What could be done to improve your business prospects?
Did you have to field attendee complaints when delivering your services? Did you receive adequate support from the event’s in-house staff to handle customer service issues?
Did your company information receive adequate prominence on marketing materials and in other forms of communication? Would you be open to providing in-kind services in exchange for more high-profile marketing?
QUESTIONS FOR YOUR EVENT DEBRIEF: THE BACK END
The questions you use for your back-end debrief should be dedicated to improving logistical operations. Review the list below for some ideas on the types of questions you should be asking.
What were our original event objectives? Did we meet them?
Were there any problems encountered as we tried to meet our event objectives? (For example, ask questions related to registration or tech issues, budgetary constraints, revenue goals, marketing performance, and food & beverage issues)
Were those problems solved? How? Did we find the optimal solution?
Revenue and Cash Flow.
Did we meet our budget expectations? Was cash flow efficiently managed so that all purchase orders could be processed in a timely manner?
Were there any setbacks beyond our control, such as shipment delays or an extreme weather event? If so, did we find effective solutions for damage control? Are there any steps we can take to mitigate the impact of these situations in future?
As a team member, did you feel like you received adequate training to complete assigned tasks?
Were all instructions and expectations made clear from the outset?
Did you find that the information you needed to do your job was readily available to you?
What were some triumphs at our event? Who or what was responsible for them?
New Best Practices.
How can we replicate these successes in the future?
How effective and efficient was our registration process?
How did we utilize technology at this event? Was the tech we used easy to implement, maintain, and navigate? Did it provide useful data for analysis?
What would you like to see happen at similar events in the future?
Did you feel sufficiently included when the event’s objectives were initially laid out?
Did the event’s messaging correspond with your brand identity?
Were you always able to reach your designated liaison in a timely manner? Was your customer service experience satisfactory or exceptional?
Did the event fulfil all of its commitments in terms of promised promotional opportunities?
Was the process of sharing promotional content convenient and efficient? Were all logos, videos, and other promotional materials presented in the format of your choosing?
Were all sponsorship options made clear to you? Did you feel like you had an opportunity to broach new sponsorship ideas?
Were you given adequate support for setup? Was the experience well organized? For example, were the loading docks available when you needed them? Did you have to compete with other vendors to gain access to the building?
Were you given enough time to perform quality control checks? For example, were AV vendors able to test digital signage and do a thorough sound check?
Did the venue meet all of your requirements? For example, did caterers have access to adequate kitchen facilities? Did the AV team have sufficient access to power outlets and WiFi?
The Front End of Your Event Review
Your front-end debrief should begin with an assessment of attendee satisfaction, usually by posing survey-style questions at various stages of the event. Although the bulk of this process is conducted at the survey stage of debriefing, the information you gather from attendees will provide useful insight during your debrief meeting.
The Back End of Your Event Review
A back-end debrief, on the other hand, involves analyzing how effectively your team handled the logistics of your event. The first step in your back-end debrief is to gather statistics and other key metrics, such as year-over-year ticket sales and event app adoption rates.
An event debrief is an essential process to ensure you build on your past experiences. Conducting both a back-end and a front-end debrief will ensure that you know exactly how everyone involved feels about the event you produced.