Take a deep breath. Your event is winding down. The venue is closing, exhibits are being dismantled, the stage struck, and the band’s instruments are stowed. Before you catch up on missed zzzs or to join your sales team at the hotel bar, you need to gather testimonials from happy attendees and pleased partners.
Corporate event planning, like other processes, benefits from experience and incremental improvement. During and immediately after your corporate meeting, launch or conference is when participants have the strongest impressions about the event experience. Don’t miss this golden opportunity for feedback to drive growth and improvement.
7 Keys to Gathering Testimonials
- Strike while the iron is hot – don’t wait until the event is over and attendees have gone home. Use exit surveys and evaluations to collect fun quotes, personalized written praise and net promoter scores. Circulate a camera crew during and immediately after the event to capture on-the-spot video testimonials on the floor and in the hallways.
- The message is the medium – Decide if you want short quotes for a newsletter, blog or website. Will you capture video to use on a streaming channel or in a corporate promotion?
- Ask with aplomb – craft your “ask” with care: script solicitations. Remind attendees about the great event they just experienced. “Lead the witness” with a rehearsed pitch and with upbeat multiple-choice survey answers. Your choice of words really matters.
- One size doesn’t fit all – provide easy-to-use testimonial platforms – surveys, social media, images and video; in person, by phone, via email, on the desktop and on mobile devices. Encourage attendees to tweet, to post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Publicize hashtags and links during the event for real-time social media placement.
- Offer Incentives – you needn’t bribe attendees to share opinions and impressions, but a promotional gift doesn’t hurt! Event swag is always appreciated in exchange for choice feedback – hats, t-shirts, coffee mugs and glassware, etc. Attendees and partners also appreciate discounts on future events (for admission and/or booth space), retail gift cards and drawings for high-value items like consumer products, concerts and travel.
- Follow up – whether or not you are able to solicit testimonials during and immediately after the event, always follow up a meeting, conference or launch by seeking testimonials. And make sure you have permission to use testimonials and releases to publish quotes and videos with names and affiliations.
- Feedback is golden – not all responses will be 100% positive and many testimonials will be accompanied by suggestions for improvement and new ideas. Attendees and partners will be eager to share opinions about the venue, speakers, entertainment, catering – any and every aspect of an event. Show appreciation and continuously improve events by listening, learning and implementing.
Nothing succeeds like success. Testimonials represent an unbeatable opportunity for attendees to show their approval for your event and your organization. But recommendations and endorsements almost never materialize by themselves. Your event isn’t over until your customers and partners sing your praises, so don’t be shy!