Option Technologies Blog

How to Get Feedback from Your Audience

Written by Annemarie Vandenberg | Mon, Aug 14, 2017

As a presenter your main concern is teaching, training, and coaching. Yet, the majority of speakers get so caught up in trying to impart their wisdom that they don’t take the opportunity to learn from their attendees. No matter the amount of expertise you have, there is always room to grow and each conference presents a new audience and a new opportunity for that. After years of experience in helping companies collect feedback data, we wanted to share with you why feedback is important and the easiest way to get it.

Why It’s Important

Feedback is a cornerstone in human development, in every stage of life. Consider when you were in school reading comments from a teacher on how to do better on a paper, at work receiving a review on what to improve on, or receiving feedback from customers on what they did or did not like about your company. These evaluations directly impact how we evolve and are important to consider when you want to grow.

Conferences are no different and feedback is especially crucial for these events. Concerns and interests from previous audiences may have changed. Understanding what your audience wants and expects will dictate all aspects of your event, from the content to the structure. Being aware of the opinions and knowledge of your audience is imperative. Feedback also includes measuring the knowledge of your audience with pre and post-tests. Whether you’re a medical educator or business coach, pre-testing and post-testing will provide measurable feedback that will show you how your conference is directly impacting your attendee’s knowledge.


Toastmasters, a world leading club for communication and leadership development, suggest that before a conference it’s important to know what your audience wants and what they are expecting. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers also states that to connect to your audience you need to understand them better before presenting.

Send out emails with survey links or set up a poll when they are RSVP’ing for your conference. This will help open up communication by giving your attendees a voice through their responses. By gathering this information you will understand your audience better and will increase the value of your conference by structuring it around the needs of your listeners. Consider a few suggested question examples below. These will help you when preparing an outline for your conference.

Questions to consider for pre-conference polls/surveys:

  • What are the top three topics you would like to hear?
  • What are you looking forward to the most?
  • What do you expect to learn from this?
  • Do you have any specific concerns regarding the conference?
  • Have you attended one of my conferences before?

During the Conference

            Getting feedback during your conference is ideal because everything is fresh in your attendee’s minds. There are many ways to collect feedback but the most effective way is through an app, such as Option Technologies’ Vvoter. Polling apps are ideal because you can easily create polls that attendees can fill out directly from their phone. This eliminates any time it would take to print out paper surveys, pass them around, and go through each one individually. A great alternative to an app is using audience response systems integrated with polling software that will seamlessly collect the data, store it, and more. Audience response systems give you real time, anonymous, responses. Another option is to have an iPad station set up for attendees to fill out throughout the conference. Don’t be afraid to personally greet attendees and ask their thoughts on the conference. If you’re not personally greeting them, have someone who will to give the event a more welcoming and personable atmosphere. Lastly, incorporate a hashtag for social media so people can tag pictures and comments of the event. Not only is this a great way to receive candid feedback but it gives your conference an online presence which will draw the attention of future audiences. Below are a couple of question suggestions to determine the basic quality of how your audience perceives the information and conference.

Questions to consider during the conference:

  • On a scale of 1 to 5 how well are the concepts being explained?
  • Is the conference meeting your expectations?
  • Are the breaks (amount/length) working alright with you?
  • Are you having trouble reading or seeing the presentation slides?
  • Was there a topic that wasn’t covered in-depth enough for you?
  • Leave a section for people to submit additional comments

Post Conference

            Receiving feedback post-conference is essential. After a week, send thank you emails or texts, containing a brief survey, to those who attended your conference. Make a more thoughtful impact by mailing out thank you letters which include a request for feedback through social media or email. This is a great way to show your appreciation and give them an opportunity to give you final feedback. This will tell you what people really took away from the event. It will also let you know what the most retained subjects in your conference were. By asking a few simple questions you can uncover the strongest points from your conference and learn about what you can improve on as a speaker.

Questions to consider post-conference:

  • What was the most memorable aspect of the event for you?
  • What are the top three things you remember from the conference?
  • If you could change something from the conference, what would that be?
  • Do you have any final thoughts or feedback that you would like to share?

            With technological advances and widespread access to smart devices, there are countless possibilities to receive feedback from your audience. Every opportunity where you receive feedback is a chance to grow and improve each conference. With the information, survey suggestions and more presented in this blog you can easily start getting feedback at your next conference.

 Don’t wait until it’s too late, start listening to your audience now! Follow the link and we’ll help you find the audience response solution that’s best for you.