Tag Archives: attendance

My Biggest Fear…No One Shows Up.

16 Jan

Most of us worry that we’ll be stood up on a first date.  Some of us are afraid that no one will show up at our funeral.  I tremble when I think of no one showing up for my focus groups.

Before running my first focus groups, I feared that every participant who RSVP’d would stand me up.  I imagined an immaculate (but empty) conference room, pens and notepads perfectly arranged at every seat around the table, condensation dripping from completely full carafes of water because no one was there to drink them.  My colleagues would shake their heads at me in disappointment.  A ton of time and money would be wasted.  These thoughts kept me up at night.

I never had an entirely empty conference room, but in the beginning, attendance fluctuated.  I was never sure participants would actually come to the session.

Recently however, I’ve tweaked my focus groups in a very slight way that has stabilized attendance and has made my life much less stressful.

Now, before focus groups, I send out an online survey through SurveyMonkey and require attendees to complete it.  Not only does the survey give us great background information on our participants, but it greatly increases attendance.  Why?

1)      After completing the survey, the focus group is no longer a nebulous session that participants committed to in the spur of the moment but can blow off–it’s an actual event that we’re counting on them for.  They haven’t truly committed to coming until they fill out the survey.

2)      The survey shows attendees just how serious we are about getting their feedback.  The survey sets a professional and productive tone, which leads to higher attendance.

3)      If someone doesn’t fill out the survey, it’s unlikely that they’re going to follow through and actually show up.  I can then send out more invitations to fill their spot without worrying about overbooking.

Before any event in which you’re relying on customers you don’t know personally or can’t 100% trust to show up, ask them to complete some kind of pre-event action.  Fill out a survey, submit a pre-session question, anything.  It will strengthen their commitment to attend and weed out anyone who wasn’t going to show up in the first place.

conference room 2

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