Foundation Insight: Planning for Focus Group Success – 9 Best Practices

By Arika Lycan, Specialist, CHIME Foundation


Whether it’s at the CHIME17 Fall CIO Forum or in your next online focus group, you can apply a few best practices to achieve success. These concepts, while simple in nature, can help you develop your session to be a robust, interesting presentation; one where CIO participants are actively engaged and sharing the valuable input that you seek from them.

Top nine tips to successful focus group engagement

  • Select topics that are of high interest to the CIOs. These sessions are not intended to be “sales pitches” of your products and services. Engage the group throughout the session and make it a fun, interactive experience.
  • Have an “internal agenda.” A stated goal and objective to attendees at the start of the focus group can help you meet your session’s objectives and help the CIOs guide the discussion, ensuring you are getting what you need from them.
  • Get creative. CHIME CIOs speak most highly of those presentations that are focused on forward-thinking, strategic and out-of-the-box topics. Incorporate a wide variety of media such as a video (one-three minutes).
  • Understand your audience. Don’t get too techy or you might lose your audience. Keep the discussion focused on one topic or a range of topics that are engaging.
  • Employ “active listening.” Reflect answers back to your participants. Attendees want to know they’re being heard and understood, that their opinions are valued.
  • Ensure even participation. This may require you to call on specific participants who have not had the opportunity to speak or those who could be contributing more to the conversation.
  • Utilize the group dynamic. Create an environment that will encourage discussion between participants. This generates lots of thoughtful ideas.
  • Less is more. Keep slide presentations to 12 slides or less. If a company overview is discussed, keep it to five minutes or less and get into the heart of your discussion.
  • Don’t move through material too quickly. Allow attendees to feel that they have the opportunity to provide feedback on all discussion points.

Remember that your CHIME Foundation staff team is here to support you. We are ready to provide any resources, input and guidance that could optimize your focus group experience and results. Reach out to schedule your online focus group today. Information on CHIME17 Fall CIO Forum focus group registration will be coming out in the next several weeks.

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