© Ground Picture; Shutterstock.com

Event follow-up

Following up on your event

You have done it! Your successful and productive event has drawn to a close and left your participants feeling satisfied. Technical equipment is being dismantled and the last guests are saying goodbye. But it's not over yet – to generate lasting added value for your company, your team, and your participants, it's now time to follow-up. 

So, why is it important to follow up an event? Because it allows you to evaluate your event goals, obtain feedback from your participants and harvest a wealth of experience for your next event. Find out here what you should bear in mind when following up your event!
 

Evaluating your event objectives post event

When you started planning your event, you defined clear event objectives to provide your event with a framework and direction. For example, you wanted to inform, motivate, support sales, prompt a decision or foster innovation. Now it's time to analyse your qualitative objectives (such as how satisfied were your participants; how much social media buzz was generated and how well was the new product received?) as well as quantitative SMART objectives such as number of participants, and turnover generated, etc.

 

Obtaining participant feedback and evaluations

Feedback lies at the heart of your event follow-up checklist. Ideally, feedback should be obtained digitally (via email for example) and analogue (directly on site for instance), and preferably using standardized questionnaires or interviews. Another tool you can use is post-it notes, on which participants can evaluate events as they come to a close. 

This approach is based on the simple idea that if you want to know how someone felt about your event and are interested in constructive feedback, then it is best to ask them in a targeted, open, and direct manner. However, don't just ask event participants. Ask the contributors too – everyone is just as important to the overall picture and the holistic follow-up of an event. Make sure that your questions are formulated in such a way that they encourage constructive and honest answers – this is the only way to draw well-founded conclusions about the quality of your event.

 

Provide participants with materials

Don't forget to express your thanks – and share the knowledge you have gained from the event! You can do this, for example, by sending a thank you email to all your participants and contributors.

A link to the photos, videos, and presentations shown and other materials rounds off your well-thought-out event follow-up. A major bonus here is that the results of your event remain on the hard drives and in the minds of the participants – long after the event has ended.

 

Post-event budget analysis

Financial controlling and accounting represent an important part following up your event. They identify potential savings, bottlenecks, and cost savings for your next event. How does your expenditure for the event compare with your expected or realized return on investment? What aspects of your event cost more than you anticipated? Find out more on our event budget planning and costing page.

 

Documenting and reporting your event

You will find it best to create a detailed and clear follow-up report that lists your event’s concept and objectives – making the effort certainly pays off. Using a clear document structure, evaluate each trade or sub-area in writing, and numerically if necessary. 

Dedicate a separate section to the comprehensive evaluation of feedback from your participants and contributors. Key lessons and recommendations for future events should be included in the report’s conclusion. A good report is therefore primarily a reference work and reservoir of knowledge for future events.

 

Archiving important resources

Speaking of reference work, the knowledge you have gained should be well archived and easy for your employees to find. Nowadays, archives should be accessible on paper and digitally via your internal IT infrastructure. This makes it easy for stakeholders, especially new staff, to access knowledge at any time. Your accounting department should add a simple financial overview of expenses and income to your archive.

 

Planning ahead and lessons learned

In the final step of your event follow-up, you need to analyse the successes and challenges of your event as a team based on the final report. Document the things that need to be implemented differently next time. While impressions of the event are still fresh in your minds, record basic considerations, ideas, and recommendations for your next event.

© ANDRANIK HAKOBYAN; Shutterstock.com

Download our checklist for event planning

Do you need a precise and detailed checklist so that you have all the important points of your event planning at a glance? 

No problem! The Cologne Convention Bureau is at your side to help you plan your event successfully and confidently. Our checklist is available for you to download - so that your event is guaranteed to be an enriching experience.