Gathering timely feedback is one of the cornerstone responsibilities of every meeting planner, and often it is a requirement of the job. However, we all know the saying “Garbage In = Garbage Out” so the question I pose in today’s blog is:

Are you getting the type of feedback that can improve and enhance your conference? 

According to Paul O. Radde, Ph.D., Founder of The Thrival Institute there are four types of feedback, as he conveyed in Successful Meetings Magazine. The first two are productive, while the last two are relatively useless.


  • AffirmativeThis type of feedback can be used in two ways at meeting – either confirming the content, speakers and exhibitors served the attendee’s needs OR when voting for certain items at an association or corporate annual meeting.When gathering this type of feedback, you want affirmation that the event was worth the attendee’s time and/or the ballot issues should or should not be passed. The key is to ask clear, actionable, close-ended questions.

    By utilizing Audience Response System rentals, you can asked questions that will be displayed on PowerPoint presentation equipment and obtain immediate, anonymous answers from participants.

  • CorrectiveThis type of feedback addresses the shortcomings of the event and what steps need to be taken to improve it. This is the meeting participant’s opportunity to guide you to produce a better meeting or event the next time.These type of questions can be open-ended and can available to the user in the following ways:

1) If you rent iPads or Laptop rentals, you can have the attendee download a polling app
2) You can monitor activity on social channels, especially if you have an event hashtag and
3) You can set up trade show kiosks strategically placed around the show floor

Again the key is to ask clear and actionable questions.

  • GeneralThese type of comments are throw aways because they give you little information about what to keep or what to eliminate from your conference.An example of this type of feedback would be: “This conference was great!” While that is an affirmative comment, it doesn’t give you anything to really work with. What you need to do is drill down – “What was so great about the conference? Specifically, what were the top 3 speakers, topics or things you enjoyed and why?”

    You need to know what to repeat, stop or increase. General comments don’t give you any guidelines to do so.

  • PunitiveThis is negative feedback of which you cannot control and usually contains destructive messaging. This would be viewed as attacking a speaker, exhibitor or the conference without expecting any resolution. Examples of this would be, “The weather was too cold” or “My flight was too long”.Whenever you receive this type of feedback, you need to realize the participant is not looking for resolution. Give it 24 hours and send them a personalized email or better yet call them and keep asking the question, “How can I make your conference experience better?”  

 SmartSource Rentals, is your total technology solutions provider and has a breadth and depth of feedback engagement tools including wireless Audience Response systems, iPads and much more. Give them a call today at 800.888.8686 to get started!