One of the nice things about getting older is knowing that wisdom comes from experience. When I led my first groups in the late 1970’s, my knowledge came from sociology and psychology books as well as from watching more experienced moderators. I made a lot of mistakes, which taught me well. A New Age guru said in the 1980’s, “Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t and that equals success.”
I am living proof that he was right! Here are six lessons on what I have learned after leading 6,000 focus groups – roughly one lesson every 1,000 groups is how it has averaged out.
Lesson 1: Trust your own judgment
Lesson 2: Put everything in writing
Lesson 3: No one remembers the last group you led – you are only as good as your next group
Lesson 4: Maintain research rigor not research rigidity
Lesson 5: Laugh early – it will all be funny later
Lesson 6: Learn to expect and embrace change