Use the OAE framework to go from opinions to memorable stories
June 24, 2020
This month, I started working with the Creator Institute, a book-writing program developed at Georgetown University designed to help first-time authors get their book written and published in about a 9-month period. I’m happy to be working on “The Challenge Mindset” through this program.
We have weekly Zoom calls with our instructor and fellow authors and on last week’s call, we talked about an interviewing technique, OAE, which simply stands for Opinion Application Example. This is how brains often think through topics in friendly conversation.
When you are looking for people to tell you stories, it’s often difficult to get them to dive right into the best experiences they have to offer. So, the OAE framework helps get the conversation going. Here’s how it works:
Opinion: You give someone a theme that you’re interested in — sometimes an intersection, like “personal development mixed with innovation culture” in the case of the challenge mindset — and ask for their opinion on the theme. They give you their broad impressions of what that means to them.
Application: Once they’ve shared enough that you understand their perspective, you ask them to switch their thinking with the prompt “how have you seen this play out, over the course of your life/career” to them toward more specific information.
Example: Finally, you ask them for their favorite example about this application, either personal or that they like telling, in order to arrive at a story you can use, whether that is for writing or testing your own ideas.
People will always tell you their opinions, but using the OAE framework helps you work through the opinions towards that magic story you’re looking for.
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.