Focus group feedback is useful to the peace builder.

Here’s how you run one:

The peace builder, working with another party (typically the focus group moderator), puts together some questions in regards to a future product, a current problem, and the solution to both that is offered by the peace builder.

Then, the peace builder gets a room somewhere and invites some people—maybe five to ten—who are in the demographic that the peace builder wants to offer their services to.

Then, the peace builder orders some pizza, the moderator sits down with the focus group participants and asks them the series of questions that have been cobbled together. In addition, the moderator may coax information from focus group attendees through the use of open-ended questions.

The peace builder sits in the room, saying nothing, but taking notes and watching the attendees’ non-verbal reactions, listening to the moderator, and recording responses to the questions.

At the end of an hour, the attendees are thanked for their time, offered the opportunity to take advantage of the product, service, or process that they have been questioned about, and are sent home.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The purpose of a focus group is three-fold:

  • To determine the reactions and responses of members of your target audience in a low-risk environment where they are rewarded for their participation.
  • To get feedback about the product, service, or process that the peace builder is developing through a process similar to an interview.
  • To collect the opinions from the focus group about the motivations of people who might actually use the peace builder’s product and to better understand how they perceive the utility of the product offering.

The savvy peace builder should be using focus groups before they launch workshops, seminars, training opportunities, books, curriculum, or any other product or process designed to appeal to a niche group of people. The savvy peace builder should avoid focus groups entirely when they are developing workshops, seminars, training opportunities, books, curriculum, or any other products or processes that have never been developed before, or which have been developed so long ago, that they have been forgotten almost entirely.

A warning though: Sometimes attendees fall into groupthink, peace builders and moderators, may fall prey to experimenter bias, issues of confidentiality around sensitive information in a group setting, and the fact that peace builders may cherry pick feedback to support a foregone conclusion.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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