Many planners ponders this very question at the end of each meeting:

Was this event successful?

Planners usually are in one of two camps about this — EITHER they use their intuitive skills to determine if it was a great meeting by talking to attendees, speakers or the conference services staff OR they rely heavily on the data generated by asking questions that attendees answer via wireless audience response systems or mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. 

The problem is the collection process can be murky at best with the first option and the questions being asked may not be relevant to developing good content for future meetings with the second. 

So what is the answer? 

According to John Nawn, Founder at The Perfect Meeting, the answer is to gather both qualitative and quantitative data that focuses in on whether or not the session content was relevant to the the attendee's work. 

The answer is to ask the right value-added questions that focus on achieving both your organization's and the attendees' goals and objectives. 

Below are some suggested ways to gather the proper quantitative and qualitative data, according to Nawn: 


  • Look at your year-to-year conference metrics from 3 perspectives: 

    1) What demographic profile are you attracting to your event? (Gender, Age, Position, etc.) Is this the profile you want? If not, how can you go about attracting the right profile? 

    2) What are your attendance numbers? Are you trending up or down? 

    3) What are your registration types — corporate attendees, non-profit attendees, students, exhibitors, or other types? Is this the mix you desire? 

  • Ask attendees the following questions (which can be handled through Audience Response System rental units or a mobile app if you rent iPads): 

    1) How many contacts did you make at the meeting? 

    2) How many leads did you develop? 

  • Conduct a quantitative performance test measuring the attendee's knowledge about the subject matter before and after the session. This can be completed through ARS and be integrated into the PowerPoint presentation equipment system. 


Either at the meeting or shortly thereafter gather the following information: 

  • Online questionnaire: Ask attendees to provide you with their honest feedback about the good, the bad and the ugly regarding the conference. 
  • Focus groups: Gather a group of 6 to 10 individuals and a trained facilitator to test out some different meeting content ideas. Rent iPads for mind mapping and/or extensive note taking within the group.  
  • Interviews: Randomly select a number of attendees to interview about your meeting. Make sure the person asking the questions is neutral and does not bias the attendee. 

In the end, it is the combination of quantitative and qualitative data that is going to make a difference in developing enriching meeting content that resonates with your attendees and meets their business goals and objectives.

AV Event Solutions is a California provider that has a wide variety of audio visual rental equipment to help you measure your meeting effectiveness. Give them a call at 888-249-4903 to learn more about their offerings!