Boy, that's a weird start to a blog. Is it just me, or am I getting weirder?
Back to the topic at hand. I think you (yes, you- person who has a love of dancing, or of me) need to know something. When I get feedback, I read every single word written by every single person. Every. Single. Word. I don't send the results to some identity-less person working for a corporation they hate, to compile meaningless data and pass it back. I read every glowing compliment, every outraged indignity, every "nice job." And it's a painful, awful, crucial process. And for every dance-event survey you fill out, someone (probably several someones) goes through that same process- probably a few times.
I need every one of you to know this: the people who read the surveys are the people who have poured blood, sweat, and many tears into running these events. They may or may not make a dime. They might make $1.60/hr when all is calculated. But none of that matters- they do it out of love for dance, and love for the scene, so I have a very serious request: fill out surveys with love.
I don't mean you have to be all "everything was perfect" if it was a seriously flawed event. But when you fill out surveys, I need you to remember who you're writing to. For EtB and Blues Muse, you're writing to every organizer and every instructor: they will know what you said about their classes- and that's a great thing! That's how we make better events! But tell me what worked or didn't, and how I can improve. Here are some more and less effective examples (all made up by me, right now):
"The award ceremony was ridiculously terrible! I was supposed to be dancing, and spending so much time watching other people win awards ruined my weekend!" Less helpful- I have to fight the urge not to react emotionally. Here's a better way: "I was troubled by the length of the awards ceremony. Perhaps simple announcements could be used next year to allow more time for dancing." Helpful, clear, and seperating between the feelings of the writer and the issue at hand.
"I learned nothing in the classes." That will pretty much just ruin my day, and doesn't help me improve anything. Don't be evil like that. How about this: "Classes were so crowded that I was unable to focus on learning, so I only took 2 classes- that was disappointing." Your emotional reaction is conveyed, along with information about what we could do to improve (more class space!).
"Your awesome!" Mixed feelings here. 1. Your grammar is wrong. 2. In with all the rage, I love me some happiness- yay! 3. What did we do right? Try this: "What a great event! You created a great vibe, and totally allowed us to manage our needs, while still providing a full schedule! Plus, you're very charming!" Much better!
Also, there are a few things you should know:
1. Organizers are probably aware of glaring errors. For instance, if classes ran late all day, chances are good that the organizers are (painfully) aware. Mention things like this if they matter, but keep it brief. They get it.
2. Positive feedback is every bit as informative as negative feedback, and keeps us from stabbing out our eyeballs.
3. Believe it or not, professional dance instructors are generally good at knowing how you dance, how much control you have over your body, and YES, how your connection FEELS by watching. I have an entire blog on Auditions from a few years ago, and you should truly read it if you haven't. We do make mistakes, but that's what an appeals process is for- and those mistakes are pretty few. We see what's wrong in class, we see what's happening in privates, we recognize tone levels in prelims, and we have a pretty darned good idea what your connection feels like in auditions. I promise.
4. DJs need feedback, too! Pay attention to who is DJing when you're having fun, and when you're not. Even just information like "I had great dances all weekend" tells us that the DJs did their job well, so let us know!
5. Painfully low ratings on a class make me desperate to know what I did wrong. Pretty please, if you give an extreme high or low rating to something, give a comment if you can. That's helping!
So remember- every time you write a survey response, make it calm, rational, specific, helpful, and most important, write it so that a human who loves the dance scene can do an even better job next time.
For EtB this year, I'm going to do something which will keep my fiance employed for days or weeks. I'm going to respond to anyone who wants it. You can either fill out the survey anonymously, or you can include your email address. If I see something that I would like to explain, or thank you for, or if you have any questions, I will answer you. That will take time, because we're expecting about 150 people, which means about 60 surveys (plus frequent eyeball-protection breaks), but I will answer anyone who wants an answer, for the dual purposes of better customer service, and better survey filler-outers in the future. Also, all of my teachers will get their feedback, and all of my DJs will get their feedback. So write meaningful stuff, y'all!
XKCD said it better than I could.