Ever wonder if you should do that event again? You know, that big deal that you just poured all your blood, sweat and tears into?
Maybe you’re feeling a bit “meh” about how the event went, whether it was a pop-up, open studio or holiday market. And you’re wondering was it really successful? Especially if you’re feeling dog tired from all of the effort it can take to do an event.
When this happens, I like to do a quick debrief that takes about 15 minutes.
This can be a mental debrief where you think about all the good things and the things you would like to have done differently.
Or it can be one where you write it down.
Personally, I always start with the mental debrief. Usually mid-way through the event, I’m thinking about the good stuff like “wow, that was an amazing person to get to know!” And, sometimes, even mid-event, I can see those pesky things that I know I would have liked to have done differently.
Then, after the event, I put it in black and white. I head over and make a Google doc so I can easily find it again, and I answer a few questions and make notes about the event. I document the numbers and the non-quantifiable things that happened.
This way I can HONESTLY separate how exhausted I am from doing the event with how successful it was. For example, after spending two days standing on concrete floors for my last open studio, my feet were yelping and I felt like I had fully lost command of the English language. I could have let that negatively color how successful I felt the event was. It was tempting to stop there and as a result feel kind of bad about how it went.
Or I could wait a few days for my tired body to recover, and sit down and do the debrief. When I did this, I surprised myself with all of the good stuff that came out of the event. Which definitely made me feel better about it and helped me to know if I’d like to do this event again in the future.
Here are the questions I like to answer in my debrief:
What were my main goals for the event? ---I recommend figuring these out in advance.
How many people visited? ---Children count because I’ve seen more than my fair share of parents doing things because of their kids, including buying art.
How many people signed up to my mailing list?
How much did it cost me to do this event?
How many pieces did I sell?
Was this more or less than I expected?
How much money did I make from sales?
Which things sold the most? The least?
What could I have done to help with sales and attendance?
How many emails did I send to my list to promote the event?
How many Instagram and Facebook posts did I make leading up to the event?
How many Instagram stories did I make leading up the event?
How many places did I promote the event like calendars, press releases, advertisements, etc.?
Did anything unexpected pull energy from the event like having an art show right before it?
What insights, learnings or adjustments would I apply to the next event I do?
Conversations that I loved having? ---These can be the best.
Questions people kept asking?
Words that people kept using to describe my work?
How was my stress level leading up to the event?
What post event sales, future exhibitions or other opportunities came from doing this event?
These are just a few of the things I think about when debriefing an event. I find that capturing the answers to these questions year-over-year makes it easier to see and focus on what’s working and what’s not. And, it helps me to decide if that event was really worth doing.
Do you debrief after an event?
If so, what kind of questions do you ask yourself? Let me know in the comments. It’ll help us all have a better debrief, and understanding of our events.