Don't Ask Me Why: More Effective and Compassionate Communication as Interviewers and Humans

  • 08 Mar 2019
  • 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM
  • Red Hat Annex, 190 E Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601
  • 0


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Who's this workshop for?

While this workshop is professionally applicable for ethnographers and design researchers, anyone taking part will be able to use these tips and tools to elicit richer, more meaningful conversational responses from their friends, colleagues, and families.

What will participants learn?

This workshop emphasizes communication, listening, and response techniques that help make interviewees feel comfortable, "safe," and confident. This results in better connections, greater trust, and more useful findings.

How will it go?

After being exposed to each conversational tool, participants will watch a roleplayed example and try the tools out themselves with partners. Pairs will switch up each time, allowing participants to get to know people in the room.

What will participants take away?

A few simple tricks that can calm children, bring spouses closer, open up interviewees, and help colleagues feel supported.

About Gretchen

Gretchen McNeely is an ethnographer and design strategist who has worked in environments ranging from products to services to digital content, with a focus on biomedical and healthcare. She helps teams create effective, relevant, beautiful experiences, helps clients make the business case to support those experiences, and helps everyone get along in the process.

Her interests include audio and conversational design, microinteractions, and branded content strategy. In her free time, Gretchen is a professional stand-up comic and storyteller, is active in LGBTQ causes, and is the mother to two small girls and two slightly smaller cats.

Gretchen is an experience architect with Pillar Technology, a software and innovation consultancy. Pillar recently merged with Industry X.0, a division of Accenture. She holds an AB in German from Dartmouth College and a master's degree in information science from the University of Michigan.


We'll have a full breakfast buffet with coffee, eggs, bacon, potatoes, biscuits, and fruit. Please note any dietary restrictions specified upon registration (gluten-free is usually easy with the caterer).

8:30 - 9:30 am: Arrival and Breakfast
9:30 - 10:00 am: Introduction of Communication Techniques
10:00 - 11:00 am: Pair Practice
11:00 - 11:15 am: Concluding Comments
11:15 - 11:30 am Q&A


Red Hat Annex
190 E Davie St
Raleigh, NC 27601

Note: This is NOT the main Red Hat entrance. This is a separate entrance that is next to Oak City Meatball. We will provide additional sign-in details closer to the event.


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