The Worst Survey Question Ever

I was watching a keynote from a digital event and during the presentation this survey pops up. There were 3 or 4 questions all with the same options. What’s wrong with this picture?

Worst Survey Question Cropped

  1. There’s 5 ways to say Good and 1 way to say Bad – how does that help you?
  2. If I have no comment – I have to select Bad.

Seriously?

If you want honest feedback from your event attendees spend a little time architecting your survey questions so that they yield the results you’re looking for.

Here are some tips:

  1. Pick a handful of questions that you most want to get feedback on. Wordsmith the content so that it’s clear to the respondent.
  2. Make sure you answers match your question. In this example, “Excellent” and “Very Good” are not answers to the question. I would have used “Agree”/”Disagree.”
  3. Select a spectrum of options give you the proper feedback you want (I didn’t realize that “Fair” was incrementally better than “OK”).
  4. Have a few people review and try out the survey. Those extra eyes would have caught that “Bad” and “No Comment” are not the same thing.
  5. If you’re running the survey online, try it out a few times before it goes live. Make sure the flow of the survey works well and the data is flowing properly. It may also help catch formats that look good on paper but are cumbersome online.
  6. During this live streamed event, the survey popped while the speaker was still talking. You want the survey to pop up as close to the end of the session as possible to increase the number of people taking the survey but don’t overlay it while the person is still talking. It’s rude and I want to listen to the speaker.

Surveys are an important part of getting feedback from your digital event attendees. Spend some time to create a survey that will be valuable to you. Do you have any other best practices for survey creation?

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About Scott Lum

Disruptive digital marketer and new media junkie. I manage the digital event program for Microsoft creating and promoting webcasts, audio podcasts, videos and hands-on virtual labs for technical audiences. I'm also working with the convergence of in-person and digital events with social media. The views presented are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.
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3 Responses to The Worst Survey Question Ever

  1. Not to mention that the “question” doesn’t even make sense. Looks like the sort of survey question that could only have been designed by a complete novice or deluded fool.

  2. These are great tips, Scott. When people ask me about integrating surveys into any of their projects, one of the questions I ask is, what will you do with the information you collected? If you have no intention of applying it to improving the content, the way it’s presented, etc., you’ve wasted your time and your audience’s time.

    • Scott Lum says:

      Good point, Diane. Defining your objective up front and having a plan on what to do with the feedback is a critical first step. Otherwise, don’t waste your time or the customers’.

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