This is a guest post by Rosemary Astra-Blossom, an amazing woman I’ve worked with on several recent workshops and events. When she asked for guidance on how to process the results of the interviews, and I responded with “It’s hard to describe, I’ll have to show you” and then walked through a few basic steps, she decided it was entirely inappropriate not to have that already written down and ready to share… and here we are! Thank you, Rosemary!

Regardless of how many individuals you interview prior to a facilitation event, it is common to feel overloaded with information. Now that you’ve completed empathy interviews, several actions need to take place prior to the event. Set aside an hour for the facilitation team to sync prior to the event. This time will be used to process results in order to customize the facilitation event with the insight captured from empathy interviews.

Prior to Facilitation Preparation Sync

It is useful for the scribe to add two columns to the beginning of the spreadsheet titled, “Areas of Consensus” and “Areas of Conflict,” this provides a space for the scribe to identify common trends and dissent for each question. The scribe should store the spreadsheet in a shared drive accessible by the lead interviewer for review and comparison to their handwritten notes. We’ve found that having the lead interviewer aggregate the takeaways into 3-4 large themes with supporting details in bullet points dedicates more time to discussion during the facilitation sync. Afterwards, the lead interviewer sends the takeaways to the team to pre-read prior to the facilitation sync.

During Facilitation Preparation Sync

There is an anti-pattern that sometimes happens when the interviewer is not a part of the facilitating group for the event. In this case the time is used for the scribe, interviewer, and facilitator(s) to come together and discuss findings. The interviewer presents the aggregate takeaways with a high level of detail. The scribe supports the statements and may bring up some additional points that are useful to the group. The facilitators ask questions of clarification, pitfalls to look out for, and bright spots. Afterwards, the team discusses how the results impact the intended agenda and event.

After the Facilitation Preparation Sync

Now that the facilitating group has processed interview results, the facilitation event agenda is updated and shared with attendees. The facilitators should prepare an intentional readout that will occur at the opening of the event. [Look forward to a blog post about using results during a facilitation event!] To wrap things up, the lead interviewer sends out any key takeaway updates to the entire group and the scribe makes sure that all members of the group has access to the shared drive storage that has the spreadsheet with raw response data.