Whether the event that you led was company private or a showy awards ceremony for key partners, the work that you put in to create it is now “out there”. Everyone that went to your gathering had their own experience and their opinions about how things transpired. Whether or not you did a stellar job, there simply is no way to please everyone. Some of these people that were less than impressed may be sharing their comments and criticisms in a public forum.

 

If your business is public facing then you know that sites like Yelp and Angie’s List make it easy for people with something to say to share their comments regarding your enterprise. You probably even use online comments yourself when researching a supplier, service or product. You definitely want to be aware of, and manage, these comments when the subject is you.

Read. Reviews and comments can appear in many places. They may show up on traditional review sites, or even on your own business website. Ideally if you have produced an event you have a mechanism for collecting comments and input from attendees.

In addition to dedicating time to both request and review feedback, search for unsolicited comments in other places such as discussion boards. You can even use a notification system such as Google Alerts to do some of the work for you and let you know when your company or event name appears online.

Review. Understand that the written word can leave the writer’s motivation up to interpretation. Some comments may be emotionally based while some are straightforward and logical. Recognize that a review may not match the facts as you perceive them, so try to understand the intent of comment with an open mind.

This does not mean that every comment made is valid. Some people seem to simply enjoy lighting a fire or easily add in a “me too”. While you have to allow every commenter to have his or her say, you should separate those that are venting from those that are helpful. Jenise Fryat shares her expertise about how to analyze a review in her article “Good, Bad & Fake Reviews: What Event Professionals Should Know”.

Respond. The most important thing about any comment is the response. Action is everything. A comment or review made online is available for others to process, and so is the way that you deal with it. Much can be gained by the way that you reply to a poster. Be sure that you use your best business voice in your reply. You don’t have to agree with the statement to make people feel heard, or more important, show your “fix it nature”.

As with most difficulties, it isn’t always obvious how you work to avoid them, but the way that you react to them that captures the most attention.