Passion + Focus

Do you have what it takes to work less?

There’s a great story that almost sounds like a fable: a man decides to work less and his life improves. The End. While we’re left with more questions than answers, the tall tale continues through time, giving working people everywhere just an ounce of hope that someday work life will be better.

Well, fable this. There’s a real man named Josh Epperson who succeeded at what seems impossible: he worked fewer hours, his productivity increased, and his happiness soared. WTH? It’s a story worth reading in the Atlantic.

Are you willing to give Epperson’s experiment a try? Tell us all about it, please – inquiring minds!

To Gift or Regift

That is the question.

Regardless whether you’re on the appalled or clever end of the spectrum, re-gifting is here to stay. Let’s forget about re-gifts you may have received, and focus on gifts you do receive and care to pass on. Here are some solid suggestions to follow:

  1. Re-gift a gift that’s appropriate for the recipient. A tennis racket to someone who doesn’t play tennis does not scream “you should try a new sport,” but rather says “I got this racket and now it’s yours.”
  2. Re-gift the item to someone in a completely separate circle of friends and family. Think about it.
  3. Re-gift new items only. If you have to search your closet for something to give someone, I assure you, they’d rather not have anything. Not everyone expects a gift, especially the older we get. That said, used gifts can be appropriate if they are family heirlooms and come with history and a good story. A broken display plate is never a good story unless your uncle used it as a shield in the Revolutionary War.
  4. Care. Sounds easy enough, but the physical gift is rarely what people remember. What people want to know is that they are loved, and that your thoughtfulness and kindness behind the gesture can be felt that way. So regardless the gift, take the time to write a sincere card with only positive statements. The latter can be tough, so practice it. It’s important. Nothing negative.

While there are other tips to consider, these 4 should keep you off the gossip list as a dreaded Re-Gifter.

However, let it be known that there is another viable strategy: to be renowned as The Re-Gifter. Do it. Own it. Keep that strategy going like a hot potato and you might be crowned King Re-Gifter, a title one can be proud of.

However you approach it, I say go full re-gift and simply be honest and consistent. Don’t be surprised, though, if the gifts stop coming. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Consider it a blessing, less toil on the the re-gifting.

Carry on, good humans!

Keeping the Peace

From interviews to family table conversations, here are some ways to keep the calm and carry on

Indeed has put together a nice list, much of which involves listening and focusing on the person(s) with whom you’re speaking. People loooove to talk about themselves, so this is a nice parlor trick if you haven’t already figured it out. An abundance of conversation starters from Readers Digest here claim to make you more interesting.

If you’re like me, you remember names the way others remember license plates, so I repeat the person’s name over and over to myself after being introduced, hopefully silently. This doesn’t always work. What do you do?

Asking people questions about themselves, particularly ones that require an explanation or at least something beyond a simple yes or no response is a guaranteed winner. By getting them to talk more, you have more info to mine when asking follow-ups.

Listening was clearly dropped from the American academic curriculum, so a reminder to STFU while also paying attention to their answer.

My personal tip when in a group network? Ask and learn about one, maybe two, people at a time. More than that and you missed your calling as a game show host.

More tips provided by Indeed seem obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t put them into their own practice. Basic advice like:

  • Introduce yourself (people appreciate not having to ask)
  • Say something about yourself (ideally a shared experience)
  • Ask for (or offer to) help

The latter surprised me at first, but makes sense when you realize that people like to be able to help (and appear to help) as much as they love talking about themselves. Get them talking about themselves and how they’ve helped, sit back with the cocktail nuts. Humans are fascinating.

Here’s to smooth sailing on your next opening sentence!

November 2023

… More

Yam or Sweet Potato?!

Answer: Not the same

Sweet potatoes are prevalent in the Americas and come in a number of varieties of substance and sweetness. These are typically the orange colored ones, though you might see them in purple and other colors.

Yams, on the side of the tubular continuum, are common in Africa and are more fibrous and whiter on the inside than a sweet potato. In fact, you likely have never seen a Yam.

Bonus Tip: Best Scalloped Sweet Potato Dish: 3 easy ingredients. You got this.

Online Chat Focus Groups, Limiting?

I’ve heard more than one respected researcher tell me that online chat focus groups do not allow for a significant depth of response and that respondents provide short, top of mind answers of limited value.

InsideHeads Participant view of an online focus group in real-timeWith more than a thousand notches on our online chat belt we can soundly report that participants provide as much detail and depth as is requested, provided you have a skilled interviewer and a well conceived discussion guide.

When the moderator asks a question to a group responding only via text, some respondents will answer right away, then follow that up with detail in a separate comment, while others will type the whole answer before hitting send. However they answer, it is surprisingly intuitive to follow the collective conversation as it scrolls on the screen, and even easier on the back-end to pull what you need from the transcripts.

When pulling key quotes for your report, simply combine any “choppy” answers from a single respondent so you have the full picture of what the participant actually conveyed.

InsideHeads online focus group research participantFor example, a discussion about a new plastic storage container prompted a multitude of separate responses from a single participant over the course of several minutes. When pulled together, the brevity builds and begins to tell the full story:

“The containers are great… the attached lids… we have an office full of  the old lids, no bottoms… the new containers stack well… labels don’t fall off… [I use the new containers for] storing everything here and at home that fits… [before I discovered these containers] I struggled with cardboard boxes we assembled ourselves… we can’t use the cardboard for long term storage… falls apart.”

-Kim, 35, male, IL

6 Ways to Boost Your Online Market Research

A hot topic in industry articles, white papers, and webinars today is conducting a strategic combination of quantitative and qualitative research online. While intimidating labels like multimethod research, hybrid approaches, mixed methods research, multimethodology, and even methodological pluralism (seriously?) may be flooding the airwaves, at its core the concept has always been a good one for online market research.

InsideHeads online satisfaction-scaleQuantitative studies require a significant sample size  and qualitative studies require a few who freely speak. While that fundamental difference may seem to put the quant and qual fields at odds, in practice the two have always been more complementary than contradictory.

Increasing the richness of the data you collect and the insights you can elicit is just one reason to create a healthy mix of quant and qual. And it need not be a double-whammy to your research budget. At InsideHeads we consider small budgets to be a healthy challenge!

Here are 6 simple, cost effective quant/qual add-ons to consider when designing your next market research study:

1. Give your screener a boostInsideHeads research screening questionnaire
While you have prospective recruits completing your online screening questionnaire, consider directing qualified respondents to complete additional questions for an added incentive prior to their selection for an interview. Not only is it a good way to further qualify recruits, you’ll also collect a sizeable amount of quantifiable information. The added incentive cost is a small price to pay for getting valuable data in advance of an in-depth interview (IDI) or online focus group.

2. Invite participants to engage in other waysteen_online
Working a multimedia reply into your online questionnaire is crazy simple. Regardless which platform you’re using to create your survey, consider branching respondents based on their answers to a page that instructs them to do something else that will bring clarity or depth to their answer. Ask respondents to call a designated phone number and leave a detailed audio explanation, or ask them to email a photo or video before continuing.  All viable requests you can layer into your survey and track files received by name, email, or a preassigned ID number.

3. Not all homework is bad InsideHeads-market-research-participant-responding
Converse to the idea of working qualitative responses into your quantitative study, consider incorporating activities before or after a single or group interview. Whether it’s a shopping assignment, a diary, collage, video request, or some other activity, research participants are quite good at meeting whatever expectations you set in the recruiting process. Pay recruits appropriately for any homework time and you’ll be pleased how much the added information will enrich your discussions.

4. Think ahead to future research effortsInsideHeads Online Marketing Research
Whether you’re running an online questionnaire or screener, it’s always a good idea at the end to ask respondents if they’re interested in participating in future research, should they not qualify for the study at hand. Having a list of willing and eligible partipants at the ready will prove handy the next time you have questions that need answering. Even a small sample size can offer valuable insights. More than once I’ve seen a website halt release of a feature based on a few usability studies done using a free screenshare platform.

5. Get a little socialInsideHeads-market-research-participant-activities
It’s difficult to ignore the impact the internet has had on our social lives. The sheer volume of information, valuable or not, is enough to make any budding Data Scientists drool. The good news is that you don’t need an expensive tool to find good stuff in this vast space. The key is to have a working knowledge of boolean search methods, and some insight into Google’s research gold mines, including public data, scholarly publications, and consumer surveys . Marketers are even using social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and others for crowdsourced feedback to burning questions.

6. Design before deviceIdentify-research-design-before-device
Probably the most important tip for saving money on your next research study and keeping your objective in clear sight is to design your study first before you pick a tool or platform. Begin with the desired end result and work backwards and you’ll not only understand the best path to success, you’ll also find the best device for the job. Always fabulous, sometimes even free!

InsideHeads logoFor more information on creative research approaches that deliver, contact the nice folks at InsideHeads.