Rigorous evaluation of an event - be it conference,
product launch, business meeting, sales and strategy
development or training exercise - is an essential element
in determining the outcome.
Evaluation of the success needs to cover many criteria
and it's always important to remember the golden rule
that the person "who has the gold makes the rules":
the perspective of the client is the one that counts.
Has the event met the objectives agreed
at the outset? Have the participants gained the knowledge
or motivation the event was designed to deliver? Did
it meet its budget forecast?
Evaluation needs to be part of the planning tool when
an event is conceived. If a mechanism to monitor the
event in its entirety is not in place, it may be near
impossible to get a meaningful evaluation after the
event as the stakeholders move on to other projects.
Many associations maintain their financial health through
their major events such as conferences and exhibitions
and detailed evaluation of a program should be integrated
into a conference's business sessions - preferably not
the last one!
These should cover:
- Keynote speaker
- Business sessions - relevance, content, presentation
- Social activities
- Perceived value for money
- Suggestions for future conferences
Good communication between stakeholders, be they clients,
conference organisers and suppliers throughout the planning
and delivery process is a key ingredient in delivering
a positive outcome and assuring a positive evaluation.
A clear understanding of each party's obligations and
responsibilities goes a long way to ensuring repeat
business - the clearest of all accolades.
An organiser must show a great commitment to the success
of any event. There needs to be real personal commitment
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