Debrief Your Way to Success

As many of us planners know, a pre-conference meeting before an event is a must. Most of us wouldn’t dream of opening the registration counter without first having met with all parties involved at a pre-con. But what about a post-con, not only with your venue but with your organization?

Debriefing After EventFor too many of us, as soon as the last attendee leaves and the final box is taped for shipping, we go back to the office and start working on a future event. There’s lots to be said about debriefing after your conference.

Some of us simply feel we don’t have time for the debrief and others merely want to glaze over any mistakes or errors. But it’s those boo-boos that help you learn for the next time.

With your venue, it’s wise to have a post-con so that they not only know what went poorly, but also what went smoothly. It provides input to you on how to work with a future venue and it also gives the venue room for improvement on working with future meeting planners. In most cases, venues appreciate an honest and constructive review so they can keep customers happy by not making the same mistakes they may have made with you.

Go over all venue-related elements: housing, F&B, audio-visual, accounting, business office services, etc. Remember to show appreciation for the work they did that helped you run your event well.

Back at the office, it’s wise to do your own debriefing. You might consider an organization-wide post-con, where all staff are involved. If that’s too many to consider, then have a debrief with all the major players. Leave egos at the door and start from the same level. Allowing rank or title to leak in defeats the purpose of getting to the bottom of what went well and what went poorly. Many don’t like to admit it, but even CEOs and EDs have negative impacts on the success or failure of a conference. That needs to be discussed, too.

Lastly, debrief with your own team: the meeting planning staff. Again, make sure everyone knows his or her input is valuable. In order to fix any problems, everyone has to be wiling to discuss. The three things to a successful organizational debriefing: communication, communication, communication.

Make time for a post-conference debriefing, even if only for 15 minutes. Once you have a process that works and you’re comfortable with, it will become a trusted tool for you, your staff and your organization.

For more information, read Making a Case for Instantaneous Conference Event Debriefs. To find more tools for success, check out Cvent Event Management.


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