This activity helps us discover how to ask the right questions in a way that encourages others to share their knowledge. It makes us aware of the covert or unintended messages our bodies broadcast and gives us practice capturing juicy bits of information shared by our “informants”.
What information do you need in order to better understand your problem, and how can the questions you ask provide rich, detailed answers in return? Open-ended questions give people a chance to share their full stories, rather than simple one-word responses. So before you begin the conversation, take some time to craft your questions.
Take turns asking each other your first question; each partner has two minutes to respond. Practice listening to your partner with with your whole body, showing them that you care about their response. Follow-up with “Why?” or “Tell me more…” to press for more details. Discreetly record key information in your notebook.
With a new partner, carry on asking questions. Once you’re comfortable using these interview techniques, you’re ready to get out there and talk with the people who know the most about the challenge you’ve chosen to take on. Don’t forget to interview the people who need to give you permission to make your project a reality.
This activity works best with tasty snacks and drinks. Add tea and cookies (or mocktails and mixed nuts) to the mix, and boom! It’s a party. You can even invite your guests to adopt secret identities and come dressed as spies.