Moderation Best Practices

Your Suzy Live project is underway, interviews have been scheduled, your Discussion Guide is complete, and now you’re ready to start interviewing participants!

We’ve compiled a list of best practices for interview moderation. Interviewing strangers is not always easy, but these tips can help you get the most out of your Suzy Live project.


Before the interview:

  • Be sure your internet connection is stable, and you can join a video call without issue. You may want to try calling in for your audio instead of using internet audio if your connection is unstable.
  • Minimize background noise.
  • Sit in a comfortable area with a professional background.
  • Be prepared with a notepad & pen if you plan on taking notes.
  • Have a glass of water handy!

Starting your interview:

  • Build rapport with the participant and  introduce yourself. State your name, who you are, and how you’re an impartial interviewer. 
  • Be very clear with the participant that there is no right or wrong answer, and that you just want to hear their feedback and thoughts during your time together.
  • Set expectations with the participant around the length of the interview and the purpose of your time together.
    • Note: Participants have been given a general idea of the topic of the interview during the scheduling process, but use a moment or two to provide any additional context you think is relevant
  • Confirm that the interview is confidential so the participant can feel safe opening up to you.
  • Ask if they have any questions before getting started.
  • Consider starting with an icebreaker to warm up the participant. We typically recommend asking them to introduce themselves (who they are, where they live, their family, their job etc). Some other questions you could ask are:
    • What did you do today?
    • What’s been your favorite thing you did this summer?
    • What are you passionate about?

Discussion Guide:

  • Create a flow that feels conversational, and make your transitions between topics or sections smooth.
  • Don’t be afraid to go off-script or move around the Discussion Guide, but always keep your eye on the time. We recommend having timestamps next to each section of the Discussion Guide so you have an idea of how quickly you need to move through each topic.
  • Actively listen to the participant and probe on areas that are particularly relevant to project goals. This means you’ll need to have a deep understanding of the project objectives and what the ultimate outcome of the research should look like.