Elicitation Techniques

There are numerous elicitation techniques, but many are so similar to each other, that we’ll review my 10 favorites.

Elicitation Techniques

Elicitation techniques can be used in any conversation. Most people in my circle use them in sales, marketing, product development and all forms of primary research, where you are collecting information.

Be warned: Only use Elicitation Techniques if you mean them. People are sensitive to a phony use of these techniques. It’s disingenuous and unethical to use a technique if you don’t mean it.

10 Elicitation Techniques

  • Expression of Mutual Interest
  • Simple Flattery
  • Quid pro Quo
  • Naive Mentality
  • Purposefully Erroneous Statement
  • Opposing Stand
  • Unbelieving Attitude
  • Provocative Statement
  • Bracketing Techniques
  • Silence

Expression of Mutual Interest Elicitation Technique – This often opens up conversation since people feel more comfortable when you share something in common.

Simple Flattery Elicitation Technique – This speaks to people’s natural desire to be recognized and appreciated. They can show off a bit. Simple flattery often coaxes a person into a conversation that otherwise might not have taken place. This is the easiest technique to see through if someone if being phony.

Quid pro Quo Elicitation Technique – If you share with me, I’ll share with you. Volunteer information that the other person may not know, but values, in the hope of learning something in return.

Naive Mentality Elicitation Technique – Naive does not mean stupid. Coming across as naive often leads knowledgeable people to inform and instruct. In elicitation, you’re most effective if you have done enough homework to know the other person’s vocabulary and acronyms…and you don’t know as much as they do, so that’s why they need to help you.

Purposefully Erroneous Statement Elicitation Technique – I use this technique as a test of how knowledgeable a person is. When I have been told someone is an expert, and as I interview them, I suspect they’re not, I use this technique. I will blurt out a purposefully erroneous statement to see how quickly (or if) they’ll correct me.

Opposing Stand Elicitation Technique – To use this technique, purposely take the opposite stand from the person you’re talking to. It can provoke some incredible sharing!

Unbelieving Attitude Elicitation Technique – This is a playful technique, one of my favorites. These are the attitudes that promote sharing, “I can’t believe you did this.” “You know I find that hard to believe.” ” I can’t imagine how you could do this…”

Provocative Statement Elicitation Technique – This technique is meant to be disarming and deflecting. It usually promotes more conversation and sharing even from the most deadbeat.

Bracketing Elicitation Technique – This is used later in your conversation, after the other person is comfortable. You might ask around topics they’re less comfortable sharing such as their company’s annual revenue, their age or the price they paid for a competitor’s solution. But they will share if you give them a bracket, a range such as age 30-35, etc.

Silence Elicitation Technique – Silence is my favorite technique. It’s a sign of respect since people often need time to think before they speak. Give them time to collect their thoughts. When you probe more deeply on a subject, it’s a great time to be patient and silent.


Make people feel good by the end of our conversation. I like to make people feel better at the end of our conversation than they did when we said, “Hello”.

Keep in mind Dr. Maya Angelou’s advice when you hold a conversation.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Elicitation Techniques Articles

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