When it comes to events, the party isn’t over until it’s over. This means that there are several value-adding tasks to be attended to before you can officially call it a day.
It’s important to follow through on this part of the event life-cycle to ensure that you measure results and capture ideas, such as whether the event was worthwhile and what can be learnt from it. It’s also an opportunity to begin creating the excitement for next year’s event.
Although it might be tempting to have a lie down and go into hibernation once your attendees have gone, there is still a lot of work to do.
Although your adrenalin may have dissipated, focusing on what went well and capturing feedback is an important closing action to take.
Just as you planned and scheduled all activities leading up to the event, you’ll need to be just as rigorous with these tasks. Here are some of the critical post-even tasks:
1. Communicate gratitude to your wider team
Appreciation is always welcomed and sending thank you notes is a great way to communicate that. Send cards that are personable with a personal note or even a photo.
2. Include everybody in your ‘thank yous’
Including your volunteers, staff, speakers, vendors, attendees and performers. Although it sounds like a lot of people, it’s important to acknowledge their efforts in making your event a success. This should be prepared for by collecting contact information and keeping it in a database. You can use your email and social media tools to convey your gratitude. The smart thing to do is to set all of it up prior to the event – build the framework and add the data and then create and schedule the social media posts using a tool such as Hootsuite.
3. Collect feedback
It’s critical to collect feedback so that you can being to prepare for an improved event next year. If you won’t be holding another one, then you’ll still need to ensure that your objectives have been met.
Most people will be happy to provide feedback either through online systems or paper-based surveys. The best time to collect it is immediately afterwards. The information will still be fresh. Although formal structured feedback is good, there is also value to be found in the unsolicited version that can be garnered from conversations online. Set up a monitoring system so that you can listen in.
4. The debrief
Once you’ve gone through the books, settled the dust then it’s time for a debrief. Your objective is to understand:
• Were the stated goals met
• What worked this year and what needs to be improved for next year
• A full picture of what went well and what happened, and what didn’t happen
5. Update your website
You might want to do something simple such as a ‘save the date’ notice or to share a press release on the outcomes of the event.
Now is the time for you to put your feet up and recharge your batteries ready for the next year; schedule it in, just as you would any task of your event, it’s an important part of the entire event. Try to get away or book time off. Victories should be celebrated and acknowledged.
Here are some of our most inspirational quotes to keep you going until you reach the finish line.