I’ve used the same introductory spiel with focus groups for the last 20 years or so. It’s a mantra for me. I recite it, basically on auto-pilot, while I am reading the room, taking the initial measure of each individual via eye contact, and assessing likely group dynamics. The non-verbal work that I’m doing is critical for me. Having a “mantra” allows me to do the work.

My introductory “mantra” contains several points. Each is important, even essential. They each have a specific purpose that sets the stage for what is to come. They increase the likelihood of having a productive group that leaves everyone – participants, me, and the observers – feeling satisfied.

I know my clients are tired of hearing the same spiel. I am blessed to work with the same people time and again. Over the years, they have come to learn the mantra as well as me. And in those cases where we do a 10 group project, even those who’ve never worked with me before can learn and be bored by my spiel.

Sometimes they gently tease me about it. Sometimes I feel badly that I subject my clients to the same words over and over. Once I tried to change my introductions. But I couldn’t really change it, because everything I say is there for a reason. And it works, so why fix something that’s not broken?

More to the point, I recognize that the introductions are not for the client. They’re for me, and for my respondents who (unlike my clients) are hearing my spiel for the first time. And even though most focus group participants these days have done this before, I want to be sure they know how it’s going to be with me, this time.

I was heartened to read an article by Greg Rathjen in QRCA Magazine called “The Focus Group Introduction: More Than Meets the Ear” that lays out the same perspective. He goes so far as to break down his intros step by step, showing the intent for each. While we don’t have the exact same mantra, we’re close, and I like what he has to say.

I’ll be happy to clarify for any of my clients my own intent for each part of my introductory mantra. Give me a call, or email me.

And if we’re working together, and you know you’re going to hear the same introduction for the umpteenth time, feel free to use that 5 minutes to get some food, finish your online shopping or email, go to the bathroom…and prepare for a really productive group discussion that will yield wonderful information and insights.


KGF Insights
9567 Poole Street
La Jolla, CA 92037

T: 619.990.9345