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A company – regardless of its size – is an organization created to satisfy the needs of a group of people. The more accurate and effective the organization is in such work, the better its results. It seems quite obvious that for this you must first know the need. However, as difficult to understand as it may seem, all companies fail to some degree in understanding their users.

How to understand our users? In most cases just ask, nothing more and nothing less. It seems simple but in reality it is not so. Interviewing users is an art whose correct execution requires practice if one does not want to reach biased conclusions that, far from providing validation, lead us to the wrong path. That is why it is essential to know and apply some principles. Here are 10 tips that will make your interviews much more effective.

You have to understand well who is the recipient of your solution. Characterize your user based on the hypotheses you have about him. Are you a professional in any particular field? What is your age? Do you go through a particular situation? Make an effort to find someone who matches the profile of users that you think would use your product or service. If you do, the results will be much more effective.

The moment you prototype your business model canvas, everything in front of you is just hypotheses. Do you think it is obvious that your user is going to need that? Do you think it is logical that users will use your solution if you do it the way you are thinking of it? Think twice. In your interviews, verify the veracity of each aspect of your business model separately, starting with those whose validation is most critical to your success.

Nobody likes to feel questioned. Try to be entertaining and take the interview as a conversation which does not mean that it is not structured. First, remember to always keep in mind what you want to validate. Then try to trigger a conversation that leads your user to respond to you in a natural way. Perhaps your interviewee does not refer to the subject, or does it briefly. There is nothing wrong with it. Most likely, they do not consider the matter so important, which is also quite useful for your conclusions.

Ash Maurya points out in her book Running Lean the importance of this advice.

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