The subject of collecting feedback and debriefing came up recently with me. It got me thinking about how valuable feedback can be collected easily to make any type of event run better the next time. I recalled being a conference attendee at an intensive all day session of training, coaching, commentary and intellectual sparring.
The clock struck 5:00 P.M.- quitting time (we’d had enough). Time for some socializing and a cold drink.
That was what I and about five hundred others thought as we sat in a huge conference room in Las Vegas several years ago.
But the seminar leader, Thomas Leonard, said it’s not play time quite yet. Let’s have some feedback about the day. We need to hear about your experience. He asked the audience questions like these:
What was good, what was bad?
What is the one thing that you learned today of the greatest value to you?
How can we make our next meeting even better?
Leonard knew the importance of asking for feedback and the timing of feedback capture.
You see, if you don’t ask for feedback on performance you’ll never get it. Not because people don’t want to give you feedback, but because their personal avalanche of time commitments overwhelms them the minute they leave the room.
So, not only asking is important, but the timing of your request to capture the information is just as important. At the close of an event (clinic, demonstration, horse show, riding lesson), you still have a "captured" audience. They are tired, but still in a fresh frame of reference with what was presented. If a week or even a day or two goes by before feedback is gathered, the participants will only retain a fraction of the experience.
The military brass and law enforcement leaders know the power and benefit of conducting a debriefing session after their own "events". You can gather information and feedback the same way in your business, too.
It’s not hard; here is how you do it. After an event, ask your staff and volunteers questions like:
· What did we do well today?
· What did we do that wasn’t effective or was badly executed?
· Who do we applaud and thank for a job well done?
· Who should be met with privately for suggestions and help to improve?
· What have we learned from this event today?
· What are things we should change before the next time we have this event?
· Who would like a larger role in carrying out the event next time?
Or ask the audience or participants of your event questions like these:
· What did you learn during this activity?
· Were you satisfied with what we presented?
· What new things did you learn about this topic?
· Where do you need more practice?
· What things would you suggest for us to consider to make this event better?
Try a feedback session after your next event; you’ll be impressed with the information you gather and the ease of acquiring it.