Last week was QRCA’s annual conference, in sunny San Diego. The first session I attended was offered by Pat Sabena, a member who’s considered by all to be a “master moderator.” Pat’s topic was on projective techniques. “Projectives” are those approaches which moderators use to get participants to open up emotionally during interviews; they can be non-verbal or verbal associated with pictures/maps of some kind.
What made Pat’s session this year different from others I’ve attended in the past were her twists and tips. Moreover, she showcased how many of these methods can now (thankfully) be used online – a stumbling block for many years.
Here’s a brief summary of some of those we “practiced” during Pat’s presentation:
- Mindmap - This is done at the start of the session to get people warmed up to a topic. (The mindmap Pat uses looks like a sun with rays – plot the topic in the middle and spend 2 minutes or so writing associations with the theme on each “ray.” It quickly primes participants for discussion!)
- Heart Map – Good for separating things someone likes from what they don’t like in a visually-engaging way. (See blog page header image.)
- Timeline – This one Pat’s used for medical interviews when talking about time, stages (from diagnosis to …) and the corresponding emotions participants associate with each stage. I can see this being very useful when talking with people at various stages of buying big ticket items, like a home or a car as well.
- Psychodrawing – Stick figures where participants can personify typical users of a brand or brands. For this exercise, I compared Maybelline to Chanel for mascara. I named and did a full bio of each typical user, highlighted their personality and lifestyle traits, and what they’d say to others about using the product. Lots of info, super clear.
- Standard Playing Cards and Archetypes (using Tarot cards) – The former can be used to describe intensity of reactions to a concept; the archetypes I like for describing a personal experience (e.g., helping your child decide on which college to attend is best represented by which card? Tell me it’s meaning for you).
- Themed Collage - In the “old days,” we did collages with magazines and participants could take up to a ½ hour of group time finding pictures and making their own collage on what a brand meant to them (or whatever the issue was). Pat turns this on its side: she has them pick one picture to represent their feelings. Then she asks them to come up with a “theme title” – I’m going to say this is a keyword or a summary phrase for how/why they selected this image. On the back-end, Pat groups the themes together and presents those images as a group. Let’s say there are five themes which emerge related to that brand: Pat includes a collage of images for each theme in her report.
This last one was my ah-ha! take-away from this session. I had the good fortune to serve as Pat’s pre-conference liaison (aka prep coach – which she really didn’t need!!), so I saw this the presentation in advance and the Themed Collage was a brand new idea for me.
I say this every year: QRCA is my primary source for “continuing education.” I invest in learning and growing each year in order to provide better service (and results) for my clients. QRCA brings a bunch of “competitors” together to share what we know. My generous colleagues raised the bar again this year for all those who attended. I was happy to have been a part of the group. And congratulations to QRCA on its 30th anniversary this year!