A simple hack to engage users deeply without panicking
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
User conversations can be daunting. I've probably run over 500 in the last decade and I still stress out. Silence can be terrifying. Some interviewees might not say much. You're focusing on the next question and not really paying attention to what they're saying.
Here's a simple hack to make these conversations less scary.
Kick it off with a smile, welcome, apology and thank you
Thank you so much for helping me with this I really appreciate it. It’s great to get your perspective. What I'd love to do is spend some time chatting with you about your work. It's going to be very casual. I'll ask you questions. But don't feel like I'm interrogating you. I'm really testing my own understanding. Don’t worry that you’re speaking more than I am, it’s what I’m hoping will happen!
Would it be ok if I recorded it? I like to go back and listen to recordings, I always pick up on things I missed the first time.
And then the hack: "what happened next"
You can literally run an entire call by asking that one question. For example:
Ok, so tell me about the last time you did _____
Paint the picture for me, what was happening right before you did this
Ok, so you did ____, and what happened next?
It's as simple as that and it takes care of the hard part of the conversation. You're helping them think through in detail the thing you're trying to solve.
Finish off with a few final questions
What was the hardest part about _____ ?
Did you face it this last time you did ____, do you face it every time you do ____?
Why was that hard?
What, if anything, have you done to try and solve this problem?
What don’t you love about the solutions you’ve already tried?