Are You Measuring the Wrong Things?

When it comes to determining the effectiveness of a speaker, are you measuring the wrong things?


Am I the only one who can’t figure out why organizations put so much stock in “smiley sheets?” These are the sheets participants complete after they have attended a conference or a presentation. Here’s what these sheets usually reveal. They indicate that the participants really can’t wait to leave the conference, so they’ll just check off whatever boxes they can so they can hit the road. What they don’t do is measure how well the participant has assimilated the information or what they will do with this information, which is really the reason companies hire speakers.


That’s why I’m proposing that you don’t waste your time having audience members fill out these forms. For the sake of my nine-year old and your children, let’s save the planet. Instead send out a follow-up e-mail a week after the program asking participants to share with you what specific actions they have taken since attending last week’s session.

Be specific and ask the following:
1.  After last week’s session, what changes have you made upon returning to your workplaces?
2.  Specifically, what (if any) thought have you given to the topic at hand?
3.  What, if anything, have you decided to do differently as a result of what you learned?
4.  Of the ideas we discussed, which ideas have you begun to implement? Which ideas will you implement within the next 30 days?

The feedback you receive from asking these types of questions is much more valuable than asking someone how engaging the speaker was. This approach will allow you follow up with participants and reinforce any learning. After all, wasn’t the objective of bringing in an outside speaker to get people thinking about making some changes?


Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Human Resource Solutions

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About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders