2011 event evaluations

2011 Event Evaluations

Don’t take our word for the quality of this event. Here are our event evaluations for 2011 completely uncut and uncensored

by Adrian Segar

As is customary for Conferences That Work, we are publishing all the (anonymized) evaluations for EventCamp East Coast 2011. So often, this information is restricted to conference organizers. I think this kind of transparency is important for any event, as it provides participants with feedback on how their experience compared with their peers, publicizes the positive and negative responses to the event, and sets the stage for the whole conference community to discuss ways to make future events better.

Let’s start with the ratings for the various sessions. I have amalgamated the ratings for the peer sessions.

Evaluation ratings Roundtable Peer sessions Personal Introspective Group spective Informal discussions
High 79% 73% 62% 70% 80%
Medium 21% 24% 23% 20% 20%
Low 0% 3% 15% 10% 0%

And here are participants’ comments on various aspects of the conference.

Pre-conference communications
Really loved the SMS text updates. This was very useful.
I felt there was a lot of communication regarding travel needs and what I should expect from the conference. There was also some reading material but not too much!
Loved getting the text updates!
Good
Timely and had the info I needed when I needed it.
Loved the text messaging.
I appreciate the communication prior to the event. It was helpful to receive emails about airport information, check-in, attire, etc. before arriving on site. At some conferences, there is absolutely no communication until you arrive on-site. Thank you!
Roundtable
Love the round table.  Not wishing to mess with the format, however, I wonder if some elements of this get to know everyone phase can’t be incorporated into an online community prior to the event.
Some of the topics were so high level that they could have benefitted from spin-off sessions: start at the high level, figure out what everyone really wants to talk about, then continue the conversation in a second timeslot.  Of course there isn’t enough time to do that, but maybe have some extra time on day 2 or 3 (again, hard to schedule)?
I love how the conference began with a roundtable discussion. It was a great way for everyone to get comfortable with each other and established a safe environment for discussion.
A really easy and concise way to learn a little about everyone early in the process. Also started the ‘thinking’ process about outcomes for the conference.
Enjoyed the break in the midst of the roundtable session – it was unexpected but a nice surprise that I can implement during my own roundtables (even in team building exercises in the office). The conference is as advertised, you truly do learn what you want to learn.
Peer session sign up
Loved it!  Especially fun when you know what to expect after already having been to one.
Worked out well.  I still think it could be even better with a combination of ideas solicited in advance (to give people a starting point – no signups, just suggestions) and ideas onsite, then have everyone go through the rest of the signup process from there.
This was pretty much as I expected.
Loved this part. There was something so great about putting something on paper that you wanted to have happen at the conference.
There should be tracks that are repeated as I missed some I wanted to attend.
Further session explanations welcome
I thought this went really well. And the munchies were – for me – the right amount and type of food to keep the conversation going and still have “dinner”.
Visual of the scribe from the roundtable near the sign-up table was wonderful. We could see who had expertise and then decide on topics that truly interest us – wonderful job Adrian and Traci for organizing this conference.
Pecha Kucha
I think in the middle of a traditional conference, pecha kucha is a welcome break.  But in the middle of a peer conference, it was a little jarring.
Too fast.  Would have liked each introduction to be longer.
They were interesting, and visually appealing, but I’m not sure how much I gained from them.
I enjoyed this but perhaps would be more fun/lively if we did it during a happy hour?
Was not a huge fan of this. I just didn’t really see the value and there wasn’t much explanation beforehand about what a pecha kucha was.
Applause!!!!
I enjoyed the Pecha Kutcha, but as discussed Sunday, to remove the stress and distractions for viewers, remove visibility of the timing feature
Community building session
Definitely felt like a team was being built
Went a bit too long.  Fun, but could have been better structured.
This was fun but we did a lot of the same things as we did in the improv class…
A few activities were at the improv session as well. Great exercises, but would have enjoyed more diversity
I didn’t feel this was as useful a closing component as the introspective session that followed. I think I might have enjoyed it more at the beginning of Camp and used this to shift a peer session from Saturday to Sunday.
Perfect session for the last day.
Personal introspective
Felt safe and am already using the skills that were passed-along
I would have liked more time to really focus on answering the questions in more depth
This was very helpful for me. Felt like I came full circle and a good end to the conference.
I received more than I expected and it was quite different than I thought. I miss my peeps!! It was good to hear everyone really speak from the heart.
A vital part of the process to close the event out. It’s a shame that everyone wasn’t able to stay.
Nice to hear each person’s insight. Helpful as I was trying to wrap my brain around things myself.
Group spective
Gave me a feeling of needing to take responsibility and follow-through because I felt part of the Event Camp Team.
I enjoyed it but can see that it might make some people uncomfortable.  Did feel a little like a support group 🙂
A little bit long, but very informative
I enjoy the process and would have rated it higher if more of the group could have participated.
Informal discussions
Wanted it to be more focused – with topic already selcted and it evolved differently than I’d hoped.
Some of the best conversations were the informal ones!
This was the most valuable part of the conference for me.
Every bit as important as the peer sessions. Valuable conversations and valuable connections were made. Thanks!
Which session or topic was most useful to you? Why?
Social media, cultural change, who we are and events – Even though we only scratched the surface here, I feel we touched on some very important information that I will be digging more deeply into as an events industry blogger, researcher AND in creating event experiences.
The Brain Sessions were very helpful, because I have to deal with so many different types of people I need to know how to communicate with them in a manner they will respond to.
Brain sessions – made me think the most, new information.
I think they were all equally useful. I was there to learn from my peers and that was accomplished.
Cannot pick one, Improv most valuable on a personal professional level. Event marketing – social media strategies on a business level
I think the Brain Friendly meetings. I really need to keep reminding myself that the body can influence the mind as much as the mind influence the body. And that I need to take better care of myself and my attendees. Thanks!
All of them were really useful and interesting. I really loved the hybrid meetings session as that is something we’re exploring in our company.
Exploring why some events sell out and others don’t – it was a topic that is informally discussed between peers but a great question.
Which session or topic was least useful to you? Why?
Pecha kucha – most of the info I already knew.  The info that was new to me, didn’t really stick because it went by so fast.
I found them all useful.
n/a
Online community management, wished for more diversification away form the bigger social media networks
I think just the informal community session on Sunday. Again, I might have found it more beneficial on Saturday. And it’s not that I didn’t like it – I did – but something needs to come last. Yes?
I didn’t find any of them ‘least useful’. All of them offered great insights, good practical ideas and lively discussion.
Event marketing – social media strategies to increase attendance. See previous comment. I did not gain much from this session.
What topic(s) were not discussed that you would like to have discussed?
Uncovering new client markets and building business relationships outside the events industry. The logistics and options involved in publishing a book that also serves as a marketing tool. Team building and team bonding activities
Woud like more information, or discussion about how to do more social marketing.
How to not cry when you have to say how you feel
Cannot think of one at the moment
Our main goal and purpose was to provide you with a personally and professionally valuable conference with your event industry peers. Do you feel that we were successful in this? Why or why not?
Yes!! You were very successful! Event Camp East Coast remains my favorite Event Camp for this reason. The depth and breadth of interaction it fosters is unparalleled in my experience.
I do feel it was successful. I felt like I made good supportive contacts that I can contact for information, advice and just to talk to. It was a safe and focused group that gave freely of support and knowledge.
Yes! Community & networking – and I loved the blend of experienced and inexperienced attendees: regardless of the level of experience, everyone there was smart, engaged, and brought a lot to the table.
Absolutely!! My boss wants the information for next year so he can send someone with me.
Yes, very. A mix of educational sessions for both areas
It was wildly successful. This is easily one of the most immersive, engaging, informative events I’ve experienced in my career.
I felt that the conference was perfect. I was/am distracted with some personal health issues that had just come to light on Thursday and that obviously distracted from my full concentration. The conference was wonderful and I hope to be able to attend this one and others in the future.
ECDC was personally and professionally valuable because it was an even mix – sessions were resourceful and exceeded my expectations and yet, there was scheduled downtime to connect with other attendees.
What did you learn at this conference that will assist you and your organization?
I learned that the subject of social media, cultural change and events is something I want to explore further. I learned that mirroring body language is an effective way to improve communications.  I learned that environment is extremely important to learning. Bright colors, nature, art help to stimulate the brain. I learned that David Adler thinks MeetUp is an important social media development relevant to events. I learned that shy people can come alive with encouragement at karaoke. I learned that quiet downtime really helps me to do better at conferences.  I learned a little more about how to network to get more business.
How more to deal with younger people and communicate with younger people – whether they be clients or colleagues. I’m the 2nd oldest person in my company, and at 45, that says something about the age.
Think outside the box (cliche, but true). Push yourself to try new things.  Ask for help when you need it.
SO many different things! How others are using social media, Google hangouts, team building exercises, etc.
To assess your events in a different way using a free environment
The value of this concept and the need for our events to work towards this goal for our attendees as well. To remember that everyone has some expertise to share and we all have something to learn from each other.
I learned that we aren’t alone as many folks said. I also found many helpful things to share about hybrid meetings.
I walked away from Event Camp with a new mindset and advice from people who were able to look my event problems and offer solutions. The group-spective was also helpful because we set actual goals and a projected time to achieving each goal.
What could we do better?
I think there could be a better way to reach new people pre-event. Possibly short half-day peer sessions offered for free so people get a taste of it. I think rather than having one Community building experience that lasts an hour, the same activities could be interspersed throughout the conference to keep brains alert and blood flowing – possibly one or two prior to every session.
Have a venue that wasn’t so cold.  Although it was comfortable and the food was good, the rooms were anti-stimulation and dulled the senses.
Warmer climate???
More information about peer sessions
I know it’s the cc model, but I actually could use less food.
I think it was all done well. If there are more attendees that aren’t staying on sight/are locals, perhaps having some things for them to do in the downtime when they don’t have rooms to go back to would be helpful.
My only suggestion is a personal preference; I hate to see pessimism from conference organizers, it’s contagious and attendees seem to follow the lead of their leaders. Throughout Event Camp, Adrian did seem negative about the venue. It was uncomfortable for attendees to be in the room while organizers bickered about the temperature in the room, who changed it or whose session it would be. Although, it could be a result of working and living in close quarters with someone after a few days. My only suggestion would be to keep it professional – as event planners, those type of discussions should be behind closed doors.
What one thing would you change?
Take out pecha kucha and community building and use that time to intersperse movement activities throughout the conference.
Venue.
Hold on the weekdays vs. weekend.
Repeating some of the sessions
Nothing, learning by doing
Love the concept of a venue and this one did a lot right. But if I had to change one thing, it would be trying another conference center.
I would have personally stayed on site.
What could we do at future peer conferences that we don’t do now?
A stronger online community built by encouraging interaction from everyone, even people who haven’t registered yet – w/ games, personality tests, contests.
Promote them to open-minded people.
More pre-show networking (for the people who do sign up early, maybe have “face book” online, or at least information / contact details shared)
Review the attendee’s job and what their company does
Not sure
I don’t really have anything beyond what was discussed at the group chat at the end of the event. I think a lot of things were identified in the deltas that you could try. They aren’t necessarily more “right” or correct than what was done this year. Just something different to try. BUT – that all being said – you did continue new things this year from last year’s event. Just keep that up and that will keep the event fresh every year.
Provide look-books before the conference (a few days in advance).
Would you attend a future conference of this type? Why or why not?
YES!! Can’t wait to attend this event again.  I LOVE it!!! Because of the fun, the interaction, the chance to talk about things I’m interested in, the activities, the chance to get to know people better.
Yes.  I felt it was valuable in developing new contacts and support systems within the industry.
Yes, provided the topic was relevant and I trusted the organization.
YES!!!!!!!
Yes! Absolutely
Yes. Again, easily one of the most engaging events I’ve ever seen. It’s been my refresh and renew event for the last 2 years to remind myself that I really *do* love this industry and these people.
I would. Wonderful experience.
Yes however not more than once a year. It’s an event that I’d find beneficial to attend each November or March; attending more than one event camp in a year seems unnecessary for me personally.
Comments on the conference logistics: facilities, meals, etc?
Liked that there was brain friendly food at all times.  Didn’t like having to hike to get coffee. Liked that everything was on site (including karaoke!) Didn’t like that the food was not always that tasty.  Though small, I liked my room. It was comfy.
Food: good  Meeting rooms: cold  Location: good (easy to get to from airport)  Venue:  Too sprawling and confusing and industrial
Very dormitory-like.  Good value for the money.
Was very good and had a blast!!
All were great. Great venue, great menu
IACC centers are always interesting. The food was fabulous and plentiful. Almost too plentiful. The sleeping rooms were adequate. Obviously a left over from their corporate training origins. And any venue with accessible wi-fi in this day and age is to be congratulated.
Loved everything especially the personal break stations in the rooms. The layout of the conference center could be confusing, but the posted directions on the walls to general sessions, break outs and guest rooms were very helpful.
Additional comments (feel free to include new directions/programs/event suggestions)
HUGE kudos for being flexible and bringing everyone outside to watch axe throwing even though it wasn’t in the original program.  I like that feeling that we aren’t married to the program. I liked getting outside. And axe throwing is interesting!
Sales & Marketing Tracks
I agree with dissociating from the Event Camp brand – maybe go with a media partnership and/or have additional sponsorships and slightly higher registration fees.
I made some life long friends and am eternally grateful!
Include event end time to avoid confusion when scheduling departures
I think David’s idea of rebranding is one to be considered and researched. It presents intriguing possibilities for moving forward.  Oh – btw – I had no questions on Pecha Kucha. Just a page. I thought they were great and would encourage continuing them in some way.
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4 Responses to 2011 event evaluations

  1. dwighttowers says:

    Congratulations on the feedback you got, and ALSO congratulations for having the guts to share all these comments.

  2. Pingback: A challenge to anyone who organizes an event | Conferences That Work

  3. Pingback: Event Camp East Coast 2011 Successfully Uses Text Message Marketing | Promo With Purpose Today

  4. Pingback: Messaging Marketing - Messaging Marketing Mobile How To Site for Small Business, Events and Trade Shows

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