From surveys at the end of customer service calls to online reviews, we have an overwhelming number of opportunities to offer feedback. This also holds true for conferences: If you’ve walked into a professional development course or a session at any conference, you’re familiar with surveys asking you to rate the speaker and session.
It’s easy to rush to the next session, forgetting all about this feedback. You may even think that your feedback doesn’t make much of a difference, but trust me — it does. These surveys aren’t just for conferences. At the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), a survey is conducted every three years to ensure that we’re meeting the needs of our members. In addition to gauging whether member needs are being met, the survey responses provide the research team with insight on what areas AIHA needs to focus on in the coming years.
Ever-evolving online survey tools give the team real-time results as well as the means to dig into data in a variety of ways. Getting feedback from members and playing around with the data? Sounds like heaven!
But what about the conference? How does your feedback, which the team greatly appreciates, affect AIHce EXP every year?
“Survey results and member feedback play a big part in the conference planning,” said Adam Seery, AIHA’s senior manager of market research. “Results and action items are shared with both conference staff and volunteers early in the planning process so that any issues can be corrected or new programs can be incorporated.”
So, yes, your feedback matters a lot. And the team knows that your time is valuable. That’s why a lot of thought goes into the questions every year. The surveys are created by outlining our objectives — and those go beyond just conference statistics. The AIHA team wants to know how the event can provide even more value to attendees. While there are core questions that are repeated every year, the team does incorporate new questions based on what it has learned from the previous event.
When it comes to the PDCs, the surveys are specific to each course and instructor. Courses that receive the highest scores are automatically in the program for the following year. Scores and feedback are highly referenced when making PDC selections for the next AIHce EXP event.
In 2018, we held 67 PDCs and 170 sessions with more than 500 speakers and moderators. Out of the 4,000 occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) professionals who attended the conference in Philadelphia, we received 1,000 responses to our surveys. The numbers speak for themselves: the average rating of AIHce EXP 2018’s PDCs was 4.17 out of 5, and our main conference education average was 4.19.
Based on the overall survey feedback, the team learned that conference attendees enjoyed the wide rage of topics and the ability to catch up on sessions they missed via the free OnDemand access available to all full registrants; this insight had an impact on our session selections for AIHce EXP 2019.
“I can say we truly value the feedback that attendees provide when it comes to the PDC evaluations,” notes Erin Breece, AIHA’s education program director. “The instructors also find the feedback to be an important way to improve their course and/or speaking skills. Constructive comments are key in this regard.”
Make your voice heard at the AIHce this year. Did you love a PDC or a session? Make sure to let the AIHA team know so that they can craft another great conference for you in 2020!
If you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Berrak Sarikaya is a natural conversation driver with an undeniable belief in the power of community. A proven content strategist and speaker, she resides in Seattle, WA. Follow her on Twitter.