This instruction session introduces engineers to the basic skills needed to successfully plan and carry out a client interview. The materials below are CC-BY-SA-3.0.
Perception Checking – Using clarifying statements or open ended questions to make clear your understanding of what the speaker said.
Probing Questions – Using questions to get further information on points that you do not understand.
Open ended questions – Questions that cannot be answered by yes or no.
Speaker: My hometown is Huntsville, IL. It’s a small town near the Mississippi River. It is most notable for the corn fields that are interspersed throughout the town.
Listener: How many people live there? (Probing)
Speaker: Currently 25 people live in town.
Listener: Did I understand correctly that there are 25 individuals in your town, not 2500? (Perception checking)
Speaker: That is correct. There are only 25 people who live there. There are more dogs and cats than people.
Listener: What are the jobs that are available in such a small town? (Open ended question.)
Speaker: Well, the majority of people are either farmers or they travel up to 45 miles to larger towns and cities where there are other jobs.