We’ve all been there: Months of hard work, weeks of preparation, and days of stress have come together in the single day that an event goes live… And just one negative piece of feedback can make you feel like it was all for nothing. But, while unhappy attendees are never fun or fun to deal with, it’s important to remember that all feedback is useful feedback, and every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow, especially when it’s negative.
What can you learn from negative event feedback.
You’ll learn to act fast.
Immediate negative event feedback gives you valuable insight into areas where you need to improve and gives you the opportunity to do just that. If you’re able to act quickly and solve whatever issue has been raised, you can catch an issue before it spreads, and avoid further guest dissatisfaction. In fact, think of it as the guest having done you a favour by bringing it to your attention quickly, and by improving your ability to stay calm under pressure.
You’ll learn how to communicate more effectively.
Remember, people need (and deserve) to be heard. If it’s clear to an attendee that you’ve heard them and taken their feedback seriously, they’re much less likely to kick up a bigger fuss. Unhappy people can be demanding and may require you to adjust the way you normally communicate in order to fit their needs but think of it as experience gained – the more you practice communicating, the better you’ll become at it.
You’ll learn perspective.
Nothing puts things into perspective quite like a little bit of drama or negative feedback. While the days before the event might have been spent fussing over the perfect shade of purple for the napkins, an actual problem on the day will go a long way in teaching you the value of solid preparation, a strong team, and the ability to work quickly and efficiently under pressure – and for an event manager, that’s pretty much more valuable than anything else.
You’ll learn to say sorry.
Nobody likes to admit that they’re at fault, but, inevitably, sometimes you will be. And that’s okay! The important thing here is to learn to recognise when something is your fault, acknowledge it, apologise, and then do what you can to make that wrong into a right. Your guests and the rest of the team will respect you more for it, it goes a long way to establishing yourself as an honest and reliable event manager, and it presents you with an opportunity to show that you’ve improved next time.
You’ll learn when to just let it go.
Negative feedback will happen, and it’s always a great opportunity to learn from the experience and improve. And sometimes that learning is that there’s nothing you can do, you’ve got to move forward, and it wasn’t your fault. There’s no point in beating yourself up about something you couldn’t avoid, so the least you can take from the situation is the reassurance that you did all you can to make the event a success, and that the next one is bound to be better.
We know that event managers are sometimes born and sometimes grown, but no matter how you got here, it’s all about how you take on a situation and problem-solve. With the right attitude, even negative feedback will keep you learning and growing each and every day.