4 Steps to Measure Audience Sentiment and Deliver Events Attendees Love

January 18, 2024

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Creating stellar attendee experiences is a goal of every event. But how do you know if you’re delivering on this promise? A ballroom filled with smiling faces? High fives on the speakers and networking opportunities? Eyes glued to the stage during the keynote? These reactions, while welcome, only tell part of the story. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get instant audience feedback throughout your event? In the past, collecting this information was a challenge. You didn’t want to interrupt guests while they were networking, learning, or closing deals.

The good news? Modern technology answers the call with innovative audience engagement tools.

Now, it’s easy to connect with attendees and uncover their likes and dislikes. And you can do it without intruding on valuable event moments. This article provides a blueprint for capturing audience sentiment in real time. When you’re done reading it, you’ll have a simple four-step system you can follow to gather feedback and delight attendees now and for years to come.

Measure audience sentiment

First, what exactly is audience sentiment?

Audience sentiment is a way of assessing how attendees feel about your event.

People measure emotional responses in their personal lives all the time. For example, you take feelings and opinions into account when talking with friends. In the events world, capturing audience sentiment applies to a tech-based way of measuring reactions on a large scale. You use special tools to slice and dice vast amounts of data.

The goal is to pinpoint what attendees like about your event and how you can make it even better.

Why is capturing audience sentiment important?

This insight enhances events in incredible ways. Armed with event intelligence, you can:

  • Spot issues as they arise
  • Make adjustments on the fly so small glitches don’t turn into major problems
  • Customize programming to fit evolving attendee preferences
  • Measure the emotional impact of your speakers, topics, and messages
  • Segment your audience to enhance education and networking
  • Improve logistics
  • Show attendees you value their opinions
  • Optimize your spend
  • Make future events better
  • And more

How do you measure audience sentiment?

Your mobile event app is the linchpin. It puts robust audience engagement tools at attendees’ fingertips, ready to access at a moment’s notice. By following these four steps below, you’ll ratchet up engagement using your mobile app. You’ll also generate a goldmine of data and gain valuable insights at every stage of your event.

Step #1: Conduct surveys to improve planning pre-event.

Surveys help you finetune your agenda and get a baseline to measure success. Ask pre-event survey questions that reveal attendees’ expectations.

For example:

  • What are you looking forward to at the event?
  • What types of professionals or companies do you want to connect with?
  • Which topics would you like to hear about most?
  • Which activities are you excited to participate in?
  • What do you hope to get out of this conference?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to share about your expectations for the event?

Step #2: Empower speakers and attendees during events.

These tips and tools below will help you deliver the experiences your attendees want.

Live Polling and Feedback.

  • Keep interest levels high with ongoing event surveys. Modern mobile apps make creating and distributing surveys a breeze. Use them to gain a comprehensive picture of attendee sentiment as it evolves.
  • Energize presentations with live polling, so attendee can interact with emcees and speakers.
  • Live polling apps tally results and integrate them into presentations in real-time. Let instant audience feedback help speakers adjust content to meet audience needs. Advanced live polling software also captures email addresses for targeted follow-up with participants.
  • Usethe Q&A function of live polling to gather questions and post them on presentation screens. Attendees can vote up their favorites and give you a glimpse of what’s on their minds.
  • Live questions and answers open the conversation to remote audiences. They’re also a boon for onsite attendees who want to avoid talking in front of a crowd. Capture broader insights and deliver inclusive events reflecting diverse perspectives.

Other Fun Tools

  • Spark audience engagement with in-app interactive quizzes. Speakers can assess reactions and comprehension to keep everyone tuned in.
  • Who doesn’t enjoy friendly competition? Next-level gamification software pumps up participation. Award points and prizes for completed quizzes, polls, and surveys. Then, watch attendee engagement and feedback rise.
  • Word clouds are another fun tool. Ask questions that call for one-word answers. You’ll collect audience feedback in word cloud images on presentation screens. Frequent answers will stand out in large text.
  • Host a debate on industry topics. Attendees can use in-app voting to choose the position that fits their viewpoint. Call for volunteers to share their opinions with the group.

Event Intelligence.

  • Ratings also increase audience engagement. Invite attendees to assess elements of your event on a positive to negative scale. You’ll detect real-time changes in audience sentiment. So you can start fixing potential problems on the spot.
  • Let event analytics crunch the data and create reports in mere minutes. Modern event apps like Stova’s make it easy to spot audience sentiment trends at a glance.
  • Finally, use this event intelligence to understand your attendees on a deeper level than ever. And deliver stellar experiences they’ll remember.

Step #3: Continue the conversation post-event.

Audience feedback doesn’t stop when the last session ends. Post-event surveys and polls provide valuable insights. They also make attendees feel part of the ongoing conversation.

For best results, send surveys as soon as your event concludes. This way, the experience will be fresh in attendees’ minds. Live polling and feedback make data collection simple.

Ask post-event survey questions like these below to discover attendee preferences and opportunities for improvement.

  • How satisfied were you with the event?
  • Do you plan to attend this conference in the future? Why?/Why not?
  • How pleased were you with the quality of the networking opportunities?
  • Which sessions did you enjoy most?
  • What information do you want more of?
  • What were your favorite experiences during the conference?
  • How likely are you to recommend this event to a colleague or friend?
  • How can we improve it next year?

Step #4: Put event data to work.

Data is crucial for event success. These sure-fire tips below will help you leverage data to enhance future gatherings and maximize spend.

  • Organize audience feedback based on different aspects of your event. For example: networking opportunities, content, speakers, and logistics.
  • Analyze quantitative feedback to understand overall attendee satisfaction. Dig deep into ratings, rankings, statistical data, and more.
  • Also gain qualitative insights from open-ended questions. You’ll capture feelings that may not be apparent from quantitative data alone.
  • Combine quantitative and qualitative findings. Let event data analytics and reporting do the heavy lifting to help you measure audience sentiment and identify trends.
  • Get instant answers to vital questions like these: What networking opportunities did attendees prefer? Which sessions topped the rankings? Did many attendees express the same complaints?
  • Finally, identify actions that support event goals and can deliver the greatest impact. This intel will help you make strategic decisions. And so, you’ll level up attendee experiences and improve future events.

Live polling and surveys and quizzes, oh my!

Sure, glowing praise for an event well done is always welcome. But modern engagement platforms change the game for the better. Now, you don’t need to depend on partial information or gut instinct alone. Instead, use live polling, surveys, quizzes, and ratings to gain insights and support your observations.

Let audience sentiment guide your planning — that’s how you delight attendees now and for years to come.

Want to learn more about leveraging engagement data to enhance your events? Download our white paper with Skift Meetings, “The Planners Guide to Proving ROI at In-Person Events.”

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Whether your event is virtual, hybrid, or in-person, enhance your attendee’s journey with an event ecosystem built for your audience. Ready to walk through Stova's event technology solutions? Schedule some time with us today.