Anthony Nash IAF Methods

Interview Matrix -- larger groups

by for . Last edit was about 2 years ago
120 - 140 40 - 400

The Interview Matrix for larger groups of 40 - 400+ participants

DRAFT Pending Declined
Submit for approval

Additional info


The Interview Matrix is a tool designed to build dialogue in groups of up to 40 participants. (see The Interview Matrix - for groups of up to 40 participants). With an added process step this tool can be used effectively with much larger groups.     


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • Question template for each participant
  • Table numbers ... for large groups



An Interview Matrix is based on units of four. You need four questions and starting groups of four people in each group (easily done with a room set-up of tables for 4 or 8). Each question is sponsored by a high-profile individual – the “Question Sponsor” (QS). Everyone is assumed to have an opinion around the topic so the questions need to be simple, straightforward and “open”. Also the questions must be non-sequential since they are not asked in sequence.


The questions are on separate sheets on the table at the centre of each table. The idea around the Interview Matrix is that each person in a group of four takes one question. Each person is assigned a number 1 to 4 and thus owns one of the four questions. Each participant has a template with their number, the question, and space for the results of three upcoming interviews.

The entire group then goes through a series of 6 x 6 minute ‘rounds’ of one-on-one interviews. Since each person is required to ask their question of three other people in their group, and also answer the questions posed by the other three, there is a total of six rounds. There are six rounds of interviews with the sequence: (1-2, 3-4) (2-3, 4-1) (2-4, 3-1) (3-2, 1-4) (4-2, 1-3) (2-1, 4-3). During the ‘rounds’ absolutely everyone in the room is engaged since each person is either asking or answering a question.

The room is set up as a café, i.e. four quadrants with different colour table-cloths. Once the questioning is complete all the “Question 1’s” migrate to one quadrant, the “Question 2’s” to another etc.

Once settled at their tables they elect a table host. The subsequent time-limited discussion (with pre-prepared de-brief questions on the screen) is around finding common elements/ themes, ‘nuggets’, ‘pearls’ etc. The table host takes notes.

Discussion Guide:

  • What are common ‘threads’ or ‘themes’ that emerge from the answers to our question?
  • Any “Nuggets” or “Pearls of Wisdom”?
  • Any conclusions or recommendations?
  • Anything to add?

Once completed a formal 30 minute health break is called, during which time the table hosts stay in the room and meet in their quadrant with the question sponsor (QS). There role is to go over their notes to prepare the QS for ultimate de-brief in front of the entire group.

This takes place following the formal health break where the four QS’s and the event facilitator (or client) sit at the front of the room, on a raised platform, in a ‘talk show’ format where the facilitator (or client) draws out the conclusions from the questions. The four Question Sponsors are not expected to make speeches, offer opinions or take positions. Their role is to simply reflect what each question group told them.

Approximate Timing (including a break):

Facilitator Set-up = 10 mins.

Six rounds – approx 6 minutes each = 45 mins (total elapsed time).

Synthesis in groups, in quadrants (1, 2, 3 & 4) = 30 mins

Break - Table Sponsors brief Questions Sponsors (QS) = 30 mins

Talk show, including Q’s & A’s for clarity = 25 mins

Total elapsed time = 140 minutes


Comments (1) ( 4.0  avg / 1 ratings)

Please Log in or Register for FREE SessionLab account to be able to comment or rate.
  • This was presented at the IAF NAC conference in Ottawa 2018. Thanks Tony for posting it here!

    about 2 years ago