Over the last couple of years, Ann and I have had the awesome opportunity to work with more of you – the planners behind the scenes! We’ve also been able to get a closer look at those who are going the extra mile to truly get to know their audiences – both DPMs/attendees and the exhibitors.
While every meeting is going to have DPMs complete evaluations, I challenge you to reflect on what you’re actually doing with those evaluations. Are you just sifting through them and getting a general idea of common remarks, or are you really taking them into consideration and documenting for progress?
If you’ve been in the business long enough, it can be easy to feel like evaluations are just an opportunity for disgruntled DPMs to complain. Because I 100% understand that frustration, I would recommend that you take the evaluation documentation process OFF YOUR HANDS.
Ask a staff member to go through each evaluation and create a spreadsheet of all commentary and to find common themes. This will separate you from seeing the same old feedback from the same old complainers; but instead give you the opportunity to not focus on who said what, but to also see a long list of positives and areas for improvement without the defensive mentality.
The main reason I bring this up, though, is that if you are simply going through the motions of collecting feedback as a formality, but not doing anything with it – you are losing a major opportunity to find new ways to promote your meeting with testimonials, statistics, and knowing what you’re REALLY good at so you can use that to shape an awesome brand!
The same principle applies to your exhibitors. And trust me – we know this one is a doozy!
That’s why Ann and I take the time to do quarterly Experienced Exhibitor Mastermind Sessions so that we can be a liaison between meeting planners and exhibitors in an effort to get objective information in a comfortable, open forum.
If you are wanting more information about how exhibitors feel about your meeting, give us a shout! But one of the best things you can do is to SEND THEM TO OUR SURVEY PAGES! Yes, I know this can be scary because you want to control the evaluation process. But, again, if you are really looking to dig deep and find meaningful information, using a third-party evaluation will get you more transparent information that will truly help you make progress.
Additionally, we often get a sense of fear from meeting planners that their evaluations are going to be “doomsday” reviews. What we have seen on our end is quite the opposite. Yes, there are going to be reviews and evaluations that aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, but there are also a lot of individuals who really want to sing your praises – so encourage their voices!
-Sarah Breymeier