How to have a bold point of view without having an opinion — A guide for UX Researchers
Make recommendations from the data and your own expertise.
You have the data. You’ve done some awesome analysis, and even generated some insights from it all. ‘They’ should listen to what you say, yes? And do what you think they should do. Or take your insights and do what you would do with them.
As a UX Researcher, you’re an expert, too.
So, how can they know what you, as an expert in partnership with them, would do with the insights you generated? What if you’ve been paying attention to more than just your own research? What if you know more than anyone imagines about the big picture and a way forward?
It’s time to be bold. It’s time to make recommendations from the data and your own expertise.
As trained researchers, we seek to be the objective observer in the room. But we sell ourselves short, and sell our work short, if we don’t help our stakeholders, as our ‘users,’ understand how to use our product, what to do with what we find and share!
Experience research always, always serves the end user. It’s what we’re about in this field, and why we do what we do. Our stakeholders are looking to achieve positive outcomes from their decisions. They come to us looking for answers, and answers they can rely on.
What stakeholders want to know is what to DO.
This is where we can help. So, how can we give recommendations and present a bold point of view, all without having an opinion? Here’s how:
- Do have recommendations.
- Be bold about your recommendations.
- Immediately support recommendations with the data.
- Then, above all, hold your recommendations lightly, or even let them go.
What? Why would she recommend to recommend, then say to let go of what I recommend? That’s the secret magic difference between an opinion and a point of view. Once we form an opinion we become positioned, and lose the very objectivity that we treasure. As researchers we look to the data for answers and the best path forward.
Having an awareness and view of where the data and answers are leading, though, is where a point of view of comes in.
- What you are doing is not about having a position and taking a stand. You looking at where to look, based on the data.
- Help your stakeholders know where to look by using the data to ‘point’ to that particular ‘view.’
- Help them see what the data suggests; then share what you would do if you were in their shoes.
Now, comes the critical part: step back from that recommended point of view, step back to the data and wait there. Then give them the courtesy of making the choice for which they are accountable. Let go of any need to defend the recommendations in favor of being solid about the data.
One, simple linguistic technique will change everything, and make this possible:
Use the words, “The data says this ….”
Know that you have delivered the message, and done your job to enable them to be aware.
So, what happens if they push back and don’t do what you recommend? This is where we, as people of heart and respect, can most make a difference:
- Allow whatever it is to move forward.
- Focus on the next problem you need to solve.
- Hold onto your data and recommendations in case something goes wrong.
- Be there to support them if something goes wrong.
- Be ready with your insights and recommendations as a fast path to course correct and fix what went wrong.
- Offer recovery support without judgment or agenda, in partnership and kindness.
There’s no “I told you so” in a partnership that works.
Take a breath, and enjoy your next ‘stand’!