Even when an event seems to have gone off without a hitch, there are always elements that could be improved—that’s where the team debrief becomes important. Taking time to debrief an event reaps many benefits, including gaining valuable feedback, streamlining your process, enhancing the attendee experience and further cementing relationships with sponsors, vendors and staff.
1. Set a date.
A quality event debriefing starts before the event. The event manager should serve as the debriefing manager, responsible for scheduling the date and communicating it to the team early. Make it a debrief and celebration all in one. The idea of planning a mini-event after the main event may not be appealing, but it will be worth it.
2. Provide a cheat sheet.
Set your event team up for success by giving them the following four questions they’ll be asked, which come from “The Four Helpful Lists” created by Tom Paterson. Giving them these on the front end is like giving them a study guide of answers that will be on a quiz. Now they can take notes throughout the event and be well-prepared for the debriefing.
> What went right?
> What went wrong?
> What was missing?
> What was confusing?
People like to hear the results of things they’ve worked on, so begin your debriefing with a presentation of the event itself. Show a video or a slideshow of photos and share final numbers on attendees, volunteers, funds generated, etc. If you gathered feedback from attendees in the form of a poll or survey, have those tallied and share any interesting findings. Tell a few exciting or moving stories about the event or open up the floor for team members to share.