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How to Ask the Right Questions by EverTrue Product Manager


Published on

Main takeaways:
- How to structure questions to get helpful answers
- When and what channels to use to deliver your questions
- How to use questions to build trust with stakeholders
- General tips for product/user research interviews internally and externally
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Published in: Technology
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How to Ask the Right Questions by EverTrue Product Manager

  1. 1. How to Ask the Right Questions by EverTrue Product Manager
  2. 2. FREE INVITE Join 35,000+ Product Managers on
  3. 3. COURSES Product Management Learn the skills you need to land a product manager job
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  9. 9. COURSES Corporate Training Level up your team’s product management skills
  10. 10. Sarah Morgan TONIGHT’S SPEAKER
  11. 11. You can find me at and hello!
  12. 12. Why is the art of asking questions so important? “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” – Voltaire ?
  13. 13. Sounds easy, why am I here?
  14. 14. We all ask bad questions, and accept responses as a result - Garbage in, garbage out ?
  15. 15. We are naturally bad listeners !
  16. 16. Do your homework ❖ Come prepared ❖ Don’t waste time ❖ Be respectful
  17. 17. Use the Right Channels ❖ Qualitative vs. Quantitative ❖ In person vs. remote ❖ Survey vs Live ❖ facial expressions/body language vs. text only
  18. 18. Get to know each other ❖ Introduce yourself (briefly) ❖ Set the stage ❖ Keep the focus on them ❖ Figure out what makes them tick
  19. 19. Confirm the perceived problem ❖ Is there even a problem to be solved? ❖ Ask it back “What I’m hearing you say is…” ❖ Don’t suggest or accept solutions
  20. 20. Formulate powerful questions ❖ Think like a journalist ❖ Use open ended questions ❖ Relinquish control of the conversations
  21. 21. Open ended vs close ended questions Open ended Questions ⬚ What could make your work life easier? ⬚ What is your biggest daily challenge? ⬚ Where would you like to see our product grow in the future? Closed Ended Questions ⬚ Would your work life be easier if we had a data import? ⬚ Is your biggest daily challenge data entry? ⬚ Would you use feature X, Y, Z if we built it?
  22. 22. Get comfortable with the sound of silence ❖ Let the interviewee accept your invitation to answer your question ❖ Give them time to think ❖ Let them fill the void, not you
  23. 23. Peel that onion ❖ Don’t be afraid to keep digging ❖ Don’t settle for the first answer ❖ Ask for explanations and additional detail
  24. 24. Don’t settle ❖ Recognize bad answers and non answers ❖ Reframe the question if needed ❖ Drive the question until you are satisfied ❖ Recognize an emotional response and be sensitive to your users’ feelings
  25. 25. Listening is Hard ❖ Don’t be a control freak ❖ Don’t steer the answer ❖ Quiet your mind and your own responses ❖ Control your emotional response ❖ Record your interview if possible (or bring a friend)
  26. 26. Reflect ❖ Take time as soon as possible to reflect on the interview ❖ Write down your thoughts and findings ❖ Adjust your script or list of questions accordingly
  27. 27. Wash, Rinse, Repeat ❖ Take advantage of opportunities to interview people ❖ They aren’t all going to be winners ❖ Hone your technique ❖ Get comfortable
  28. 28. Any questions? You can find me at: Thanks!
  29. 29. Additional resources ⬚ The 5 Whys ⬚ The Lean Product Playbook, Dan Olsen ⬚ The Psychology Behind the Perfect Customer Interview, Elizabeth Wellington, HelpScout
  30. 30. Part-time Product Management, Coding, Data Analytics, Digital Marketing, UX Design and Product Leadership courses in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Orange County, Seattle, Bellevue, Washington DC, Toronto, London and Online