Elicitation sessions can be stressful for both the person facilitating it and the ones being elicited. Whether you are asking simple questions or you are trying to extract answers from a certain person, elicitation sessions can be quite difficult and intimidating.
Below, we will discuss the things that you should do when planning on conducting an elicitation session. If you want to learn about proper elicitation techniques and if you are interested in Eric Maddox, you can find his website here. He teaches unique techniques when it comes to elicitation and other courses such as listening training, coaching, consulting, and so much more.
Clarify the Scope
The first thing that you’d want to do in an elicitation session is to clarify the scope. You can either discuss the meeting agenda with the person or the people that you are eliciting so they’d know the scope of the session or you can also create a detailed elicitation plan that discusses what their role will be during the session. Be mentally and physically prepared for the conversation and the session before popping into someone’s office.
Know the Difference Between Elicitation and Gathering of Information
Most people interchange elicitation and gathering of information. While they might be similar, the meaning between these two words is a whole lot different. Gathering simply means that you will be asking simple questions and writing down everything that the interviewee will say. It’s a simple case of question and answer. Elicitation, however, requires a more detailed process. This is often likened to being a detective and asking every single detail about a topic — even the minute details. When you elicit, you leave no tables unturned and you see to it that the interviewee is answering the questions clearly.
Gather Your Materials
You need to make sure that you have all of the supporting materials you need before an elicitation session. Some of these materials might include visual renderings, requirement questionnaires, and a checklist, so make sure that you have these ready before starting with the elicitation session.
Use Different Techniques
If you feel like you need more than one elicitation technique, then go for it. You do not need to limit yourself to just one elicitation techniques, as most elicitors use more than one during their sessions. Most of the time, you might need to use one elicitation technique and then springboard it to another technique.
Go with the Flow
More often than not, elicitors usually play it by ear rather than sticking to a scientific method. Your subject will most likely feel intimidated if you are too by-the-board and will refuse to answer your questions. You should, instead, try to be emphatic and try to listen to them well. Ask the questions by heart and not by the book, as doing so will most likely make your interviewee feel that they are, indeed, being interrogated.
If you are unsure about your elicitation techniques, then go ahead and sign up for a course dedicated to bettering your techniques. This will help you get the answers to the questions that you might need to hear from your interviewee.