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November 29, 2007


Great start!

I always thought the moderator's body language makes it easier for people to open up. I knew a person that would sit and look at people quizzically and after having said something (which wasn't a question), as if he was expecting the group to contribute. I thought that was a bit spooky, in a "come-to-daddy-tell-him-what's-wrong" way. "You know you want to."
Well, no one did!

And some other bloke who moderated a group by sitting in his chair, his hands on the table, palms touching each other as if he was going to say a prayer. I would have, for the disastrous result...

Funniest I've ever seen was this fella who thought he was Jeremy Paxman. Never used him again, never will!

You've been doing an absolutely sterling job on all this over the last few months NP. Well done. I do hope you can pop all the links into the plannersphere Wiki at some point too.

But do you really learn anything in groups - they seem to be full of people who know what groups are for and frequently their couch answers in terms of what the company is trying to achieve, i.e they speak about what they think joe public would want rather than what they would want.

Isn't it far superior to observe what people actually do rather than ask them questions - even given the smart guidelines you've listed?

John, you're not wrong. I agree that in most cases it's better to watch and ask.
But planners are sometimes stuck with groups whether they like it ot not. Hopefully this will help to make the most of it.

AND, I think much of the problem with groups is down to designing the discussion guide and moderating really well. The more you draw people out of themselves the better. And the right tasks can be really revealing. They're not perfect, but if you want speed, or something rough to build on, then fine.
I reckon the problem is that too many people take what people say as gospel, as opposed to looking for what they're not saying...

Looking for what's not said is a smart thought. It would also be good to find a way to get different participants but clearly that's a hard one.

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