It’s that evaluative retrospective journey back to the beginning that often reveals the most important truths.
It’s true for your life, and it’s true for your events.
A post-event debrief is the most effective post-event analysis that you can do; it helps you revisit the event and learn what went right, what went wrong, and most importantly, what you can do to make it better next time.
Deconstructing the Event
Once you conclude your event, you just want to let out a deep sigh, pour a glass of a beverage of your choice, and relax. Not the available option, though. An event debrief, if you need it to provide results, must be done as soon as possible after the event ends.
The very first thing you need to do for an event debriefing is to invite all the key players associated with it, in case you had a team working with you. Ensure that the number of people you invite won’t hinder your conversation. Always remember what happened to the broth when too many cooks were involved in its preparation.
You’re bringing together dynamic people in one room. Sparks are bound to flare. It is important to provide a safe as well as nurturing environment to have a healthy discussion on the event.
So how do you do this. Stick to your agenda. That’s right. You simply must draw up an agenda, before you invite the key stakeholders, so that when someone deviates, you can bring the discussion back in line.
The Fundamental Questions to Tackle
Now that you’ve finally waded into the deep waters, let the truth unfold. Ask the pertinent questions, even if they are difficult. Especially if they are difficult.
Did we meet the event objective?
Perhaps the most important question of all is the one where you evaluate whether you hit the mark or not. Remind the gathering of what the event objective was and discuss the results. Did you actually meet it? If not, did you at least come close? What went wrong? What could you have done better to stick to the plan?
There’s also a possibility that you might have exceeded your expectations. It’s alright. Go ahead and applaud yourselves.
How did we achieve our objective?
Focus on the good before you jump to the bad. Analyzing what went right is as important as analyzing what went the other way. The answers to this question will work as guidelines for success in your future events.
It will also help in keeping the energy up and imbibing optimism.
Where did we fall short?
Now to the bad news. Analyzing what went wrong is going to be a very tiring session. Very few will take collective accountability and most others are happy to assign blame. And this is where sticking to the agenda helps. Create specific questions as to what went wrong and how it could have been done better. As soon as you receive a working answer, move on.
Remember, the answers to these questions are valuable. So do not shy away from them.
What did we learn?
The most critical question is this very last one. The answers you were able to collect during the debriefing session will give you a repository of learnings, which you can apply in the future.
Ensure that you integrate the learning into your processes and SOPs so that they become part of your planning.
When You Plan How to Plan
The dashboard on Speaker Engage gives you insightful data on all your events. This can easily be a starting point for your debriefing session because you’ll be armed with data before you begin.
A debriefing session, if you look at it, is the perfect end to an event well done. You put the pieces together painstakingly for a successful event, and then you take it apart, painstakingly, to unravel the success.