What Are Elicitation Techniques (Get The Info You Need With Ease!)

  • By: Phil Taylor
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Elicitation is a technique of gathering information from people. It is one of the most important and effective ways to gather knowledge.

Elicitation techniques can be divided into two categories: closed-ended and open-ended. The closed-ended elicitation techniques are usually used when a person has a specific question in mind.

The open-ended elicitation techniques are usually used when a person does not have a specific question in mind and wants to explore different aspects of the topic or issue with their respondents.

What really are elicitation techniques and tools? 

Elicitation techniques are a set of tools used by people to extract information from people. They can be used in interviews, focus groups, business and interrogations.

Elicitation techniques help people to understand the thoughts and feelings of participants, and to probe for more information. There are a variety of elicitation techniques, including open-ended questions, closed-ended questions, probing questions, and reflection questions. Delivery people who are eliciting information can use these techniques to get information out of others to use to their advantage.

How elicitation works.

Elicitation is the act of obtaining information without asking many questions.

Elicitation works in a few different ways:

  1. To elicit information from someone, you should sound conversational, open, and honest. Being more sociable is the key to the first tool in our elicitation belt.
  2. The extracted information needs to be delivered by the other person without being forced or cornered for it. It needs to be free-flowing.
  3. Flow in conversation builds trust and topics are shared to extract the information you need.

How to elicit information.

The Hourglass Technique.

The Hourglass Technique.

Sometimes called the conversational hourglass is one of the simplest ways but yet most effective ways to get the information you require.

When we are having a normal conversation with someone we tend to remember the question from the start of the conversation and then the end of the conversation, the middle is muddied waters. This is where we should raise the topic we want to discover the information we require.

In the hourglass technique, we need to first raise the topic or loosely around the topic we want to discuss after this, we would focus the conversation and start to narrow down on the information we needed to gather.

Once the information is gained, we would then slowly raise the topic back to the discussion we were having at the start and ask some questions around the topic loosely again.

The key to this is to talk about general topics that are related to the sensitive topic, and then slowly move away into another topic of conversation.

Why is elicitation possible?

All human beings desire to be loved, accepted and understood. Elicitation is the process of satisfying one or more of those three desires in a way that leads to the satisfaction of your own desires.

Elicitation Techniques and Examples.

Correcting the record.

Correcting the record.

Correcting the record is really useful, most people who know about the industry will want to automatically correct the record. For example, we could use this in a conversation when trying to get more information about a work assessment. In conversation with our boss, we could say something like “I was reading an article on the internet about assessments and they said most are not structured and only have a few key questions.” Your boss will over-simply see this as you fishing for more information, but the topic is open and the record corrected.

Talking about ourselves.

We all have friends that like to talk about themselves and what they’re up to. This is no different when conversing with other people who like to talk about their lives. When someone is showing interest in their stores they will share more and open up.

Offering Advice.

People love to offer advice as soon as they are asked about a topic they know about. This is powerful and should be remembered when extracting information from someone.

Disagreement.

When someone disagrees with us, we will go to great lengths to prove our point of view. We will over-deliver information, and this is how we can use that to our advantage.

There are many more ways we can use elicitation to extract information from other sources. These are simple in nature but powerful in practice. Most people will not know they are in a conversation with someone trying to gain information, so use these powers for good.

Provocative statements.

A provocative statement is a powerful way to gain information. For example, if someone told you they were going on holiday next week, you could say, “I would love to go there.” They would then open up about their holiday plans, times, dates, places etc. We have gained information about their activities.

Sharing something sensitive.

Sharing something sensitive about your life can help others open up about a topic you want to learn more about. For example, you want to know how many kids they have and where they are, maybe you are a privet investigator? You could be in conversation and have on your phone a picture of you and your family. If they see the picture and bring it up, you could then start a conversation about their family life.

Complaining.

As simple as it sounds, complaining about a topic you want to bring up will start a conversation, a simple thing to remember here is to complain about something they will agree with. An example would be, “Don’t you just hate it when people are late for meetings?” This will then give you a good lead into a conversation with them.

Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips

What are the benefits of using elicitation techniques? 

The benefits of using elicitation techniques are that they allow companies to find out what their customers want, how they feel about the company, and what will make them happy.

We can also use elicitation in our daily lives to truly understand what another person is going through in life. When talking to a partner, we can figure out what is bothering them instead of asking a direct question, we can use elicitation techniques to get to the core of their issues.

How can elicitation techniques be used to improve communication? 

By using elicitation techniques, we can become better communicators by simply listening and allowing the other person to feel like they are getting a connection with us. Not by asking provocative questions by simply guiding the conversation, gently nudging the conversation in any direction we wish.

How can elicitation techniques be used to improve decision making? 

Elicitation techniques can be used to guide a conversation and open the door to new thoughts and ideas. By starting with information from someone, we can use this in making decisions or starting points.

Summary

 There are a variety of different elicitation techniques that can be used in order to obtain information from a source. Some of these techniques include direct questioning, leading questions, closed questions, and suggestive questioning. It is important to use the correct elicitation technique in order to get the most accurate information from the source.