Don’t you love the one word answers you get from teenagers when you ask them how their day at school was today. I’ve learned with my daughter that it’s far more productive to wait until we have our quiet times together cooking, knitting, walking the dog, and let her raise issues that she wants to talk about.
It struck me moderating a group discussion recently that it’s exactly the same with participants. Sure they may have more to say when I ask them a direct question than the average teen, but the real gems come when they are given the space and time to raise issues they have on their minds.
By spending time establishing rapport, giving participants the confidence to speak about issues that are top of mind and allowing the conversation to flow rather than moving on to the next scheduled task on the discussion guide, it is possible to uncover a whole host of issues that would have been buried by asking a rational question like ‘what’s important to you’.
And it’s the same in our online communities, we learn most about consumers real behaviour when we set the scene for open, free flowing conversations and can then more accurately project their future behaviour.
Take a look at this light-hearted take on the typical teenager and while you do, think about how much goes on in the life of a teenager beyond their monosyllabic replies and how we, as researchers, can access their reality.