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Basic Moderator Etiquette and Tools

If you know anything about Vidlet, you know how much we love mobile video diaries to gain insights from your customers. We appreciate that our research participants take us into their homes, cars, or along on a shopping journey and share their lives with us.




While mobile diaries are the core of Vidlet’s research methodology, we are also a team of highly-skilled and experienced researchers and interview moderators. Sometimes a moderated interview is necessary for the completion of a study (see our past blog on the topic), and we like to think that we have the secret sauce in the art of moderation.


A moderated interview allows us to dig deeper, but they require a unique skill set. Some include:


  • Research participants generally take their participation very seriously – treat them with respect and make them feel successful – even if they hate the concept you prefer most.


  • Research participants can be late, fumble their technology, or show a bit too much nose hair in the camera – you can’t. Know your audience and have empathy. Not everyone is on Zoom all the time.


  • Be camera on – always. No black Zoom boxes at Vidlet. If a team member cannot engage because a 5 am call just isn’t their thing, they can listen to the recording later or read the transcript.


  • Have a research guide in place but also follow the conversation. “How” and “why” should be your favorite words.


  • If a participant shares a vulnerable moment off-subject, let them talk. You will catch up later.


  • If you just need to check boxes in your research guide, send a follow-up survey, or use mobile diaries


  • If a participant is intimidating and the smartest person on the call, it is probably true. Don’t despair, it requires humility to not know a subject.


  • A moment of silence can be a good thing – in life and in a research interview

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