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We learn from mistakes – how to use the SWOT analysis to assess the event and improve our offer (pt. 1)

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In one of our previous posts we proposed event organizers the use of the SWOT analysis during the event (training courses, workshops or conferences) planning.

Today, we will present how to use the SWOT analysis to evaluate the event and develop action standards that ensure high-quality events. The SWOT analysis is a simple tool that will allow you to eliminate shortcomings, reduce the risk of failure during subsequent events and improve the offer to attract even more attendees.

SWOT in a nutshell

Detailed information about the SWOT analysis you can find HERE. Now, only a small reminder: the SWOT analysis is a tool to help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the project. What does a “SWOT” mean?

  • “S” stands for Strengths
  • “W” stands for Weaknesses
  • “O” stands for Opportunities
  • “T” stands for Threat

How can you use the SWOT analysis after the end of the event? We will start with the Strengths and Weaknesses of the venture. These are the features that can either contribute to the success (“S”) or contribute to its failure (“W”).

The strengths of the event – it was a bull’s eye

Critically look at the strengths of your event. Think about what contributed to the success.

Examples of the strengths:

  • your event team – the event result was achieved due to experience and perfect coordination of the event team; team members (both volunteers and professional event coordinators) knew what to do, were prepared to deal with unforeseen situations;
  • registration process went smoothly – digital solutions for event management were fully effective: the registration software and payment processing software didn’t crash, the process ran without any problems;
  • marketing activities undertaken in social media have proven effective;
  • invited lecturers / trainers turned out to be a hit of this event – they were perfectly prepared, led lectures / workshops with enthusiasm, attendees rated them highly.

Strengths – what’s next?

If you have already identified the strengths of the event, consider which of them have common repetitive features (probably most, unless you conduct a completely different project each time). You can place these elements on your checklist – you will be able to monitor the implementation of these processes on an ongoing basis, which will ensure the repeatability of success, eg:

  • event team – checking the flow of information and project coordination;
  • event registration software – start and finish registration process using an online event registration software that proved itself previously;
  • marketing activities – event promotion schedule analogous to the previous event (you can also include improvements!);

In a word – use your own best practices and make them a part of the standard process that guarantees high quality.

Weaknesses – areas requiring improvements

Think about what turned out to be the weakness of your event. First of all – which actions or incidents prevented the venture from achieving full success.

Examples of weaknesses:

  • inexperienced team members;
  • an inefficient event registration software;
  • insufficient quality of catering;
  • venue not meeting expectations.

Weaknesses – what’s next?

Identifying the weaknesses of the event should be a lesson for you. It should give you insight on how to do something in the future and how to develop standards to avoid failures. Let’s work on the examples from above:

  • event team – if on the first line of contact with the clients (for some reasons) was working an inexperienced team member and he wasn’t able to handle so-called “difficult customer”, make sure that this situation doesn’t happen in the future; on your checklist you can include a checkbox indicating if all staff members are trained to deal with such customers;
  • event registration system – if the system you used was inefficient, crashed, worked slowly or had problems handling large Internet traffic or lost data (!), it is time to change, don’t wait until the situation repeats itself next time;
  • catering – there is a lot of truth in saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Unless the meal itself is an essential part of the event, the tasteless or poorly served will remain in the memory of the attendees for a long time. Verify suppliers, check the quality of the dishes during the tasting, place this action in the checklist as a standard process of choosing the supplier;
  • venue – if it didn’t meet the expectations either your’s or event attendees, think about why it happened – whether it’s your fault (for example, you didn’t verify the place in person before the event) or venue’s management team (eg. didn’t comply with the contract). Anyway, introduce new standards regarding venue selection (including verification visit) – make them an essential part of your checklist.


See the next part of the SWOT analysis – opportunities and threats.