How we listen matters

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During the 90’s I was running around Asia listening to business executives about their needs for IT systems and support services. There were two main methodologies that I used, focus groups and face-to-face interviews. In the first, I sat behind one-way mirrors and observed executives, in the other I would engage them in a one-on-one conversation. Both were valuable, but the latter approach would always yield far greater insight.

The reason was simple. By being able to engage an executive in a conversational experience allowed me to adjust the questions based on their needs and their aspirations. As such, I could delve into both to understand what the pains were behind their needs and what the passions were behind their aspirations.

This is strategic insight.

It is very hard, if not impossible, to gain this strategic insight in a group setting because it is hard to have the laser-like focus you need and people feel far more guarded when they are talking amongst their peers.

But insight is what is critical for shaping effective strategies. If you can begin to find the commonalities of the needs and the commonalities of the aspirations and align your brand around those, a tremendous amount of focused, innovative energy has the potential of being released.

A reason to listen

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Thompson Morrison
Thompson Morrison has spent the last couple of decades figuring out how companies can listen better. Before co-founding FUSE, Mr. Morrison was Managing Director of AccessMedia International (AP), a consulting firm that provides strategic market analysis for the IT industry. His clients included Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, IBM, and Vignette.

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