I got some quite passionate feedback on my latest frowning on capturing feedback for internal trainings. In short, the reaction was that there are some obvious advantages to gain in capturing feedback, nothing to lose, and I didn’t really show a lot of innovative spirit. My main claim was that creating and evaluating the feedback materials could easily become a waste of time because participants would not be motivated to return feedback.
The key is to make giving feedback compelling, fun, and fast. Only ask one or two simple questions like:
What was the most useful thing you learned in this session?
If you could change one thing for the next group of participants for this session, what would it be?
What were you expecting that you did not get from the session?
And then, you can do better than filling out paper. Using an online tool lets your participants give their feedback when they are ready for it – and that is probably not directly after the session when everyone is rushing out for lunch or a few beers, but later in the hotel room or via their smartphone. And of course, an online tool does not pile up on your desk in an untidy fashion (yes, I’m the kind of person whose desk is always a mess).
I stumbled across a new thing called BetterMe – its primary focus is on personal feedback, but it works perfectly for a serious of sessions. BetterMe lets you send out questions, and a (predefined) set of ratings to a group of people, who then receive an invitation to come in and provide anonymous feedback. Well yeah, there are drawbacks – the rating questions can only be chosen from a small predefined set, you need to log on to provide feedback, support for small device isn’t great. But BetterMe really shines as a personal tool for accepting and giving feedback, in a professional or personal frame. (OK, the templates for personal questions are a little weird: How am I in bed – rate 1-10). You can try this out on me: go to BetterMe, create a login, and send some feedback to email@example.com.
And then there’s Ketchup. Ketchup is a minimalistic planning tool for meetings, and very much focused on exactly that. You start by creating a meeting in Ketchup, invite some people (Ketchup sends out the invitations), and share the URL of public meetings. Then when the meeting is on the way or over you can add some notes. The whole meeting can be printed nicely, and there are decent export features into calendars. Ketchup does nothing that you could not do with your Outlook or Google Calendar, but it provides a very streamlined and concentrated user interface.
Finally, a visit on MeetOrDie can saves you the effort of actually running a meeting at all, as it precisely predicts the outcome of a meeting.