Instant feedback for speakers?

by Scott | 6/24/2009

At the  Business to Buttons conference this month, I noticed an interesting way to collect feedback on speakers at every session.

Instead of bothering with a complex survey, which has to be sent out, complied and edited, they simply place two voting boxes at the door, with two piles of small cards. One pile green, one pile red.

As you leave you grab a colored card and drop it in the voting box. And by counting the cards it’s quickly clear how well received the session was.

The upsides to this system:

  • It’s fast
  • It’s simple: either the session had value or it didn’t.
  • There is no extra work

However there are problems too:

  • It’s not secret.  People see which pile you grab a card from, including possibly the speaker or his/her friends, which may change people’s votes.
  • If you get lots of reds it might not be clear why.

But I do love the idea as it quickly gives the speaker a sense of how well they did, and forces audiences to choose one way or the other.

The problems can be solved by finding a way to make it secret, even just by moving the box to outside the room, covering it, or finding a clever way to protect the anonimity of people voting.

6 Responses to “Instant feedback for speakers?”

  1. » Wednesday linkfest Says:

    […] Instant speaker feedback.  I saw a clever method for collecting feedback on speakers at a conference this month. […]

  2. Todor Says:

    A pen at the table may be useful. People who actually care could write down a few points on the card. As this increases complexity, it’s entirely voluntary.

    As to the anonimity of people… The cards could be made such that when folded there is no difference between reds and greens. People could grab 2 cards before the session and finally place their vote in one of many boxes… for example :)

  3. Mario Cardinal Says:

    One card with two colors: 50% of the space is Red, 50% green. Voter just mark an X on the side they prefer. ThePeople who actually care could write down a few points on the card instead of an X. A card with no X mean that the voter want to split his vote between Red and Green.

  4. Scott Says:

    Mario: That’s the best idea I’ve heard so far.

    The only challenge is someone has to make two color paper, which is harder to find that single color.

    But otherwise your approach solves the problems I called out. Bravo!

  5. Jason Robb Says:

    Stick a red and a yellow sticky note together.

    Could be a problem if they fall apart.

  6. Can you force questions on an audience? | Speaker Confessions Says:

    […] recorded in some simple way so his perspective is informed by what the majority felt.  Having a better way to judge the value of a session is probably the best problem to solve […]

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