15 Nov 2019

The Fine Art of Deep Listening

Getting the most out of qual groups and communities means listening laterally, not literally. For what it’s worth, here are a few tips & tricks

  1. Nothing is what it seems – the world works in covert ways
  2. What people say is largely irrelevant, but the fact that they are saying it might point to something meaningful (thanks Rory Sutherland)
  3. What people don’t say is just as important as what they do say
  4. Most people don’t have stable opinions about most things
  5. What people ‘believe’ is mostly what they absorb from the world around them
  6. Reactions are more important than opinions
  7. Small differences between e.g. brands are mostly just that – small differences that may not be particularly meaningful in real life
  8. Last but not least, context is king: always ask yourself how something that’s discussed in research might pan out in real world situations

I try to remind myself of the above before every project. And even after 20 years I sometimes mistake rationalisations for real drivers. Sometimes we are our own biggest enemy


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