Hi, Liam Livings here, welcoming you to your first UK Meet blog since the event in Southampton.
Remember those feedback forms you completed? Well, thanks to Cathy’s whiz-bang Excel skills, I’m pleased to bring you the highlights and lowlights of your feedback.
We received 56 responses which is a great rate for a self-completion survey like this. To show how we take on board delegate feedback to improve the event we wanted to summarise the main themes to share with everyone.
Panels workshops and key notes
All panels and workshops received an average score between 7.4 and 9.2 except one panel which received 5.9. When we looked into this via the comments received, it was specifically related to delegates being disappointed that the content did not match what had been advertised.
Delegates liked the long breaks between panels as it allowed networking and decompressing from what had been learned at the sessions.
Apart from a few minor audio issues with one, the two keynote speakers evaluated well and almost without exception delegates found their personal stories inspiration and moving.
The main learning from this is:
- having panel organisers submit an outline to their sessions prevents panelists winging it on the day and led to better quality professional sessions
- having a moderator on every panel helps keep things on track on the day itself
any last minute changes must be agreed by the committee, otherwise it’s better to cancel the panel
- keep breaks between panels
- keynote speakers go down well with personal stories inspirational and moving
- we will have panelists’ names posted at the event so delegates know who is leading each session. It wasn’t possible to include this information in the programme because there were so many changes right up until the event itself.
The ukuleles went down brilliantly. I described them to the band on the night as ‘the most fun I’ve had with all my clothes on’ which they promptly posted on their Facebook group! The rainbow dinner was great fun with delegates enjoying a dance but some wishing there was more space to mingle. Good mixer on the Friday night for those who attended.
Delegates who didn’t attend the entertainment explained they didn’t like crowds or liked to organise their own entertainment with others at the event. There is always going to be a balance to strike with the entertainment because some will never attend it because it’s not their thing, and we’re trying to cater for a broad variety of tastes with those who do attend.
Generally there was negative feedback about the hotel’s food – we hear you – food matters! Or as my friend always says, ‘Good food is an everyday luxury.’ If we decide to return to the Grand Harbour we’ll make sure we have more control over the food offered. The rooms and quality of the hotel evaluated well at 7.7 as well as transport to the hotel which came out at 8.6.
The split book fair was generally well received but we hear that some authors weren’t able to buy from their favourite authors as they were in the same half as themselves. We’ll look into other ways of managing this and it may include suggesting that tables set up an informal buddying system so authors can circulate around the book fair while someone else minds their books for sale. Suggestions welcome!
The printed programme, goody bags (content and the bags themselves) and sponsors’ feedback was generally very positive.
And finally, most importantly, delegates felt the atmosphere was inclusive and respectful and allowed them to be themselves, while retaining their privacy if that was their wish. Both rating 9.3 or above.
Is it 2018 yet?
Thanks, from the UK Meet committee – Cathy, Charlie, Clare, Elin, Jamie and Liam 🙂