Posts tagged “larry swanson”

Listen to Steve on the Content Strategy Insights podcast

Thanks to Larry Swanson for having me on his Content Strategy Insights podcast.

You can listen to our 30-minute conversation (and find the transcript and various links to podcast services) on the episode page. Also, the audio is embedded below

The episode is also on YouTube (and embedded below)

Steve Portigal: Interviewing Users | Episode 167

We talked about:

  • my work at my UX research consultancy
  • the elements of a good interviewing mindset
    1. checking your own world view at the door
    2. embracing how others see the world
    3. building rapport
    4. listening
  • the difference between chatting and interviewing
  • how to stay mindful as you transition from one mode of communication to another, and the need to consciously cultivate new rituals in the modern, non-stop Zoom world
  • how to keep the business intent of your interviewing activities in mind, in particular the relationship between the business opportunity at hand and the research-question planning that best aligns with it
  • how to kindly share with colleagues relevant new discoveries that emerge in your research work
  • how to balance the amount of domain knowledge you bring to an interviewing project
  • the importance of knowing and keeping in mind the scope and importance of documenting, analyzing, and synthesizing your interviews


Chatting is, it’s a crutch. And I don’t mean that in an unkind way. If people haven’t spent time learning this and practicing it and reflecting on it, I think people go pretty far by being friendly and open and conversational, and I think that’s a good start. But in chatting, for example, we share about ourselves, “Oh, you like cats? Well, I also like cats and I have two cats at home and one is named Binky and one is named Winky.” That’s seen as, it’s a chatty rapport building technique. And I think that’s one I see people relying on and I don’t think they should ultimately, that the interview is about the other person and so if you’re new, you tend to think, “Oh, I can build rapport with you by showing you how I am like you.” “I like that too. I hate that too. Oh, that happened to me. My cousin also has that problem with Facebook,” whatever the thing is, you try to share something about yourself, but actually that takes focus away from the other person. So that embracing how they see the world means you want to spend time on them. So when someone says, “I have two cats,” you can say, “What are your cats’ names? When did you get them? Are cats part of the content that you share on social media?” If that was our topic. You can keep talking about the thing that they shared and not bring yourself into it. And you have permission not to talk about yourself and you have power to be still interested in their thing. And it actually is much more effective.


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