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  • Writer's pictureIsabel Aneyba

Clients’ Rules of Engagement during “Face to Face” Interviews

Updated: Jun 14, 2019

Clients often want to meet their consumers in their natural setting at home, or at work. One week prior to the interviews, I conduct a call with the client to share the rules of engagement for face-to-face interviews. Even though the client is not asking questions, clients communicate through body language.   A negative look or gesture from a client can blow the interview.  These are the rules of engagement:

1. Introduce yourself by first name only and sit off to the side.  Do not give your title or role as this might deter openness.  The participant should not look at any clients when talking to the researcher.  The goal is to avoid interactions that may lead a participant to adjust his or her comments. 

2. Practice your poker face and use it. Because clients are so vested in their company/brand, they may react when a consumer says a competitor is satisfying his/her needs.  Keep a neutral expression and do not comment when you disagree with the consumer.

3. Leave your business hat at the doorstep. This is research, not a selling opportunity.  The research goal is to get candid, genuine responses about needs, attitudes, and preferences. Contrary to sales activity, the researcher will not portray herself as an expert, nor try to close a sale during the interview.  Strive to feel empathy with the consumer.  If you can remain open it will help with subsequent marketing decisions as you will have gained insight about the consumer’s true feelings.  

4. Dress to mirror participants’ type of clothing. If the meeting is at their office, wear office attire; if the meeting is at their home, wear the attire that they will wear at home, depending on to their income level.

5. Be wise to ask questions. Wait it until the end of the interview to ask any questions you have that the researcher did not cover. Remember that the researcher is more familiar with the guide and will probably ask most of your questions during the interview. By waiting until the end of the interview, you will add to your knowledge and expertise and make the learnings more successful.

If you would like to know more about how to conduct qualitative research with Hispanics contact Isabel Aneyba at

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