Tip #436: A Guaranteed Way to Get All Participant Evaluations

“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than its value. Charles Dudley Warner

Trainers often bemoan the fact that it is difficult to get participants to complete and return their session evaluations. This is also true for any business event where participant feedback is desired.

I have discovered a sure fire way to get all participants to hand in their completed evaluations. The secret involves a simple five-step process;

Step 1: Alert the participants that they will receive a nice gift in return for handing in their evaluations at the end of the session.

Step 2: Put a picture of the gift on the PowerPoint slide that instructs the participants to complete the evaluation.

Step 3: Give them sufficient time (5 minutes) before the session ends to complete the evaluation.

Step 4: Make sure there is only one exit the participants can take to leave the room.

Step 5: In exchange for the completed evaluation, hand each participant a small gift.

This process worked beautifully at a recent two-day leadership retreat conducted by the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles. Since the focus of the retreat was on using data to measure performance, the gift at the end of the first day was a car-shaped measuring tape on a key ring with the inscription: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

The gift at the end of the second day was a packet of Thank You cards and envelopes that the managers and supervisors could use to thank their employees when the occasion arose. It seemed a fitting parting gift, to thank the participants for their time, energy and great ideas. The cards were easy to make using perforated notecard stock and a color printer.

Seventy-four participants handed in seventy-four evaluations each day. It’s amazing how a motivational a small gift can be. Of course, it didn’t hurt that there was only one exit open at the end of the session!

May your learning be sweet!


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