45 Critical Questions for a Successful Event Debrief

16 September 2019
An event planner’s work is never done – not even when the event itself is over. There is so much planning involved in staging an event that it’s tempting to congratulate ourselves just for reaching the finish line. To keep our game in top form, however, it’s key to take an evaluative look back at our journey.

Yes, we are talking about an event debrief.

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.

What is “Debriefing” Anyway?

The term “debrief” 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.

The survey stage is effectively about crowdsourcing people’s reactions and opinions, whereas the meeting stage is more about analyzing key performance indicators, determining what went well and what didn’t, and brainstorming solutions to challenges.

Put another way, event debrief surveys are just another way to conduct valuable research for your debrief meeting.

What objectives did you set out for your 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 launched a new program to offer continuing education credits, did you achieve the expected levels of attendee participation?

Discuss the goals of your event, establish if they 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 that you organize. A debrief produces 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.

Read all 45 questions.

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