Wednesday, May 18, 2016

About Those Surveys: We're Listening

By J. T. Evans

That's right. We're snooping on what you have to say. But not in a creepy way.

For those of you who have attended any Pikes Peak Writers Conference, you've seen the quarter-page, white survey sheets we hand out for every session. That's right. Every session. Every attendee.

There are 14 time slots for sessions and roughly 370 attendees. Assuming some attendees take a break from the learning to let their brains cool off, I'll go with 20 or so of them not sitting in a chair in a class. That's 350 people we want feedback from times the 14 sessions for a grand total of 4,900 session evaluations.

Now, not everyone does the survey for every session. We have roughly a 50% participation rate (and wish it were higher). At the end of the conference, we have around 2,500 of those little sheets to decipher. They're hastily written and sometimes the folks have handwriting similar to mine (e.g.: illegible).

This means we're spending gobs of time (that's a technical term) reading through them all. You read that right. All. Of. Them.

We love what our attendees have to say about the sessions they attend. Not all reviews are favorable or glowing, but that's okay. Honestly, that's more than okay. We truly do want honest feedback on everything we do. It's how we improve over time.

Without you writing the survey sheets, and with our expenditure of gobs of time reading and reviewing them, we wouldn't know what was on target. Where you let us know about the great speakers and good topics, we know who to bring back and what we need to teach each year.

If you didn't like something, we want to know that as well. We need to know where a presenter fell flat, or if a topic wasn't useful. It helps us realize where we can coach our presenters to improve their teaching skills. It also lets us know that a particular topic might not be of use to our attendees.

I know this is coming out post-conference, but if you come back to see us again (or come to see us for the first time) at the 2017 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, please consider filling out those surveys. I wanted to write this up to let you know how valuable you as an attendee are to our continued improvements and thriving as the best and friendliest conference in the region.

For those of you who spent your valuable time and energy giving us feedback, thank you so very much for doing so. We're listening. We're doing our best to improve based on what you need and want.

If you missed your chance to give feedback, or couldn't fit your comments on those tiny sheets of paper, my email inbox is always available. I welcome any and all constructive criticism (and praise!) to be sent to me at

About the Author: J.T. Evans writes fantasy novels. He also dabbles with science fiction and horror short stories. He is the president of Pikes Peak Writers. When not writing, he secures computers at the Day Job, homebrews great beers, spends time with his family, and plays way too many card/board/role-playing games.

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