5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Focus Group
At its core, a focus group is a guided discussion with a curated but diverse audience. Focus groups offer the unique opportunity to get candid feedback on a product, design, or concept before it goes to market. This type of exercise can be invaluable when introducing a new program or service or if you need more qualitative feedback. Conducting a focus group may not always be possible but, if you are able to host one, here are a few tips to help ensure you get the most from the experience.
Have Clear Objectives
Resist the temptation to ask a lot of questions to try and “take full advantage’ of having an captive audience. A focus group should be a structured exercise that targets a specific question or need. Identifying the objectives of the focus group ahead of time will help to keep things on track and to ensure the participants understand what you expect from; they will be more likely to give you thoughtful feedback.
Know Who You Want to Talk To And Why
In identifying the objective of your focus group, part of the experience includes a target audience or a persona of the ideal participant. Selecting participants that meet a specific set of criteria will help ensure insights that represent the qualities of your actual audience.
Create A Comfortable Environment
People generally want to help other people – that’s the best place for a focus group to start. Welcome your participants and thank them for donating their time and effort to help you. Food and beverages always lend to a more relaxed and positive atmosphere.
Ask Open Questions
As the facilitator, you know the problem you are trying to solve for. The last thing you want to do is lead your participants to an answer. The value in having a focus group, after all, is to test assumptions and get feedback from a larger audience without imposing your influence on them. You may have some preconceived notions but keep questions and dialogue open-ended to ensure their opinions and feedback are authentic.
Don’t Assume Anything
Our minds are constantly interpreting feedback. In most social situations this is a plus, but in the context of a focus group, take that extra step and check those assumptions. Repeat the feedback and ask for further information – not only will you be able to check for assumptions, you are getting another opportunity for additional insights. Then go a little deeper and ask the participant if there is anything else they would like to add.