FOCUS GROUPS: The ‘Technique’ Question

I’ve been doing focus groups for over a dozen years now so it’s fair…it’s fair that people ask me ‘what technique do you use?’  I actually take it as a great compliment but, truth be told, I don’t use ‘A’ technique’.  Nope, not a one!  Okay, so now I’m digging a hole I fear I can’t get out of, so let me clarify.  I use MANY ‘techniques’, if you want to call them that.  How many you ask?  Okay, now we’re talking.  I use just about as many ‘techniques’ as I’ve had respondents, and clients, and then, of course, the combination of each unique respondent and each client’s project and….okay, so you get it.  Techniques are as varied as respondents, clients, projects and any combination of the aforementioned.  The trick is to not pigeonhole one’s self into any one technique – it’s as ill-suited as the flavor of the day or the trend of the year.  Your respondents will see right through any ‘technique’ you throw at them.  Loosen up, get to know your respondents, read their body language, build a relationship, tear down walls and start a conversation.

Check back throughout December for suggestions and my recommendations to making a focus group unique, efficient and, honestly, an event your respondents will be happy to attend.  But, in the meantime, I wish you and yours nothing but health and happiness this holiday season.

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