A question for my association colleagues

My question: Why do associations frequently “hide” audience feedback from speakers?

When I work with my clients, a common discussion point is capturing speaker feedback in the database. Typically associations want to do this via an online survey (which makes sense). But quite often, someone on staff will say “But we want to be able to review the responses before the speakers see them, so we can take out all the nasty comments.” (Or words to that effect.)

As a frequent speaker myself, I’m always a bit befuddled by this. I like to get ALL the feedback (good and bad) from the audience feedback sheets. When I push back on my clients, usually the answer is something along the lines of “We don’t think it’s necessary for our speakers to hear the bad stuff,” or “If they are all negative comments, then we know not to use that speaker again.”

So tell me, association executives, if you don’t share ALL the feedback with your speakers, why not?

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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