Whenever you need to measure the impact of an event, you need certain metrics. Without well defined factors and relevant metrics or data that you can correlate with, you cannot measure the event impact. Most event planners or organizers including the presenters try to focus on satisfaction. Indeed, satisfaction is a metric and it is very important. However, satisfaction should not be the only factor. Even if your audience is satisfied with the event, the impact would be very short lived if there is no other consequence or development. Every event organizer must have a list of the key elements that can help one to measure event impact beyond satisfaction.
One factor that will be relevant in every event is knowledge. Has the audience learned anything new through the event? If not, then the event is itself an outright failure. There are far too many events that state the obvious, bring nothing on the table that is not present already and it is not about shock or awe as many perceive it. The whole purpose should be bottled down to the contribution to enhancing knowledge or any type of exposure. If an audience feels enlightened, helped with knowledge and if it triggers wider discussion or even debate, then the event has an optimum impact.
Knowledge will fuel opinions and that will fuel debate. A debate will trigger new ways of thinking and can have a lasting impact. Events that stimulate such aftermaths will always be more successful. There is a reason why certain events like the Economic Forums gain so much global exposure and coverage. New ideas and thrilling developments take form at such forums. Unless something truly constructive and consequential can be obtained through an event, it is just a few hours spent talking or presenting a few things and that has absolutely no relevant in the future course of action. Events that are truly informative, enlightening, encouraging or motivating, helpful towards networking or increasing awareness would have a much more profound impact.
Today, measuring event impact beyond satisfaction is very easy. One can reach out to the audience through social media, professional networks and webinars. One can easily assess what follows an event, if people are talking about it, if people are referring to the event or quoting anything that was discussed in their write-ups or actions and that would always be a better testament to the success of an event than just noting down the satisfaction levels.