You know that look of confusion when someone is just
not speakin’ your language”?

Don’t be this guy…

Or something like this might happen…

Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig were found guilty of murder.

In 1952, the two men were in the middle of performing a robbery when they were confronted by police. An officer challenged Christopher Craig to put down the revolver he was carrying. As Craig hesitated, Bentley cried out “Give it to him Chris!” – at that, Craig fired and the officer was killed. At the trial Bentley claimed he meant “Give the man the gun!”, but the jury inclined to the prosecutors view and and found both men guilty. Six months later Bentley was hanged.

All based on five little words.

Clean Interviewing has an answer

Keep your stuff out. Gather their stuff in.

You don’t need top-down or complicated psychological models to get the best from those you interview.

Learn to speak your clients’ language by actually speaking their language.

Join us as we investigate how the wording of interview questions can unintentionally bias answers, how leading’ questions cast doubt on the authenticity of the data collected, and how you can avoid this by asking clean’ questions.



Recognize The Need

You see the need to gather more authentic information. You know that you can ask better questions. You just need to know how. Stop wrinkling your brows.


Mark Your Calendar

Clear your calendar and make travel arrangements to come to California spending a few days erasing those lines from your forehead.
Choose from two dates.

Learn From The Best

Attend our two-day workshop and learn from the best in a relaxed vacation-like atmosphere gaining knowledge through practice with expert guidance.

InPerson Workshop Events


w/Sharon Small

1-day Intensive at HPRCT
June 22, 2018
San Antonio TX



w/Sharon Small

2-day Training
September 7-8, 2018
San Luis Obispo, CA

FULL, Try January 2019


w/Sharon Small & James Lawley

2-day Training
January 19-20, 2019
San Luis Obispo, California


You Know This Will Rock!

Questions? Check out our FAQ

“Clean Interviewing is needed across
all areas at our company.”

Philip C.

Why Clean Interviewing?

“Because asking questions is so common, interviewers can be lulled into believing interviewing is unproblematic and requires little specialist knowledge.”

Paul Tosey, PhD (National Teaching Fellow and former Head of PhD Programmes for Surrey Business School)

The words we use impact others. It is a linguistic reality of language. Clean, as we use it here, is a metaphor for a way of interacting with others that allows you to clearly express your intention while at the same time giving the other person maximum opportunity to answer or respond without the imposition of your metaphors and assumptions.

“…. interviewing witnesses is probably the hardest task facing an investigator”


Why Clean Interviewing?
Most interviewing methods teach one to use ‘open questions’. This is a good start and simply does not go far enough. Open ended questions can be leading; closed questions, such as “Is there anything else?”, can leave a client open to answer with more lateral. It is not only about open and closed, it is also about inadvertently adding in our own biases through interpretation of presuppositions, working off of assumptions, using metaphorical language, or using other peoples top down models to interpret what is happening within an interview process. Taking notice of your assumptions, biases, presuppositions, and metaphorical content will put you well on your way to clean-ing up your interviews and conversations with out having to be clever or tricky. By adding clean questions, you will gain rapport, help put your interviewee at ease, and make it easier for your interviewee to answer your questions. You will also know where you are in your data collection process and stay accurate in your timeline. In essence you will be come a better modeler of information. As you know, each person is different and interviewing may be the most important skill in cause evaluations and data collection. When poor information is gathered, less than accurate or desirable results will be be the result. It is our aim to provide you with a verifiable interview methodology where you can not only collect authentic data, but also check the rate of interviewer influence on that data. This is a game changer.
Where did it come from?
Clean Interviewing derived from Clean Language, the language model of therapeutic processes devised by David Grove which has since found application in education, business, organisational change, health and academic research.

Grove devised the principles of Clean Language in the 1980s and continued to develop a specific question set until his death in 2008. Although Owen first suggested applying Clean Language to phenomenological research in 1996, it was not until 2010 that the first systematic research into the veracity of the method was conducted and published in the British Journal of Management.

Who is this training for?
Are you any of these?

Academic researcher
Research student
Marketing reseacher
Cause analyst
Corrective actions specialist
HR Professional
Business analyst
Quality improvement associate
Specification & requirements gatherer
If so, then this training could be just the thing that elevates your communication and/or interview techniques allowing you to gather more authentic and honest information.
What will I learn in Clean Language Interview training?
The aim of this workshop is for you to learn and integrate the principles of Clean Interviewing and to develop your ability to design and frame clean questions during practice interviews.
You will learn how to interview using Clean Language questions and principle so your interviewees are given maximum opportunity to provide reliable information – uncontaminated by unintentional presuppositions, assumptions, and personal metaphors.
You will also learn a new process for validating the cleanness’ of an interview and increasing the robustness of your methodology. This is the only interview method that can be validated on observable criteria outside of relative and subjective interpretation.
How big are the groups for these trainings?
All of our courses are small group format (between 6 and 15 people) allowing for a high-touch experience that is intended to let everyone participate fully and learn at their best. 
The small group size allows time for developmental feedback towards your learning, exercises and application with others, and self-reflection.
You will begin right away using the primary Clean Questions while learning more about how it works in an interactive and fun learning environment.
Each program is supported with:
  • Certified Clean Facilitators that actively use Clean Interviewing in their professions
  •  High quality academic source materials for reference and further study if desired
  • An opportunity to interview on real contexts, not artificial scenario’s designed by trainers
  • Quarterly follow-up webinars available for continued professional development 
How is it taught?
We will work in groups of two or three to apply the model or skill to yourself and others in real time with real outcomes. In these small groups, you’ll have the opportunity to be an observer, a client, and a facilitator giving you multiple perspectives from which to learn.
This format allows you to take away new learnings quickly and use them right away in your own work and personal life.

Clean Language Interviewing will be demonstrated in multiple context and you will be given ample opportunity to practice in interviewer-interviewee activities with high-quality feedback, debriefing and plenty of time for questions and discussion.
The workshop will be experiential, innovative and practical. Asking and being asked Clean Language questions will not only take your interview skills to a new level, they can lead to more general professional development strategic rather than prescriptive thinking is encouraged.
What kind of material do we practice with?
We do our best to only use real situations and interview-worthy material from your work and life.
Are there any prerequisites?
Although there is no prerequisite to attend Clean Interviewing, it is highly recommended that you have some familiarity with Clean Language questions and principles to maximize the value and applicability of this training.  
This can be gained through:
Is there a Clean Interviewer certification?
Not currently and a skills based assessment is in the works. We are happy to keep you in the development loop as it comes to fruition. Currently, we provide a Certificate of Participation that includes seat time hours.


Just contact us at and we’ll set it up!

Bring Clean Language Interviewing to your peeps

These organizations have benefitted from Clean Language.


Find out more at our FREE webinar “What is ‘Clean’ Interviewing Anyway?” 

Invest just one hour and you will experience the powerful methodology that we teach at our annual conference.
We hold these webinars on the first Tuesday of each month.
Click below for dates and registration.

USA-EU    9am
(0900 Pacific Time)

USA-Asia  6pm
(1800 Pacific Time)


Sharon Small

Sharon Small

CEO Clean Language Institute

Sharon Small is an independent researcher and internationally recognized clean language trainer and assessor. She has dedicated her mission to helping others gather good information so they can do great work.
With over 13 years of experience working in the nuclear industry, a degree in psychology and background in Jungian Archetypal psychology, Shamanism and NLP, Sharon brings a broad set of skills and experiences to her training rooms.
James Lawley

James Lawley

The Developing Company

James is a co-developer of Symbolic Modelling and a leading authority on the use of self-originated metaphor for personal and professional development.

James lives in the UK with his wife and co-developer, Penny Tompkins. He comes to the US annually where he and Penny join Sharon in California to provide advanced training in Clean Language, Symbolic Modeling and Clean Interviewing.


James Ramirez

James Ramirez

Corrective Actions Program Manager

James has been supporting Clean Language training in the US since 2010 and has been using Clean questions and models in his work for over 7 years. He is deeply familiar with the use of Clean Interviewing in both a managerial context and within cause evaluation interviews and corrective action development. James brings over 40 years of corporate experience to our training rooms along with current clean language use in real everyday contexts.
Penny Tompkins

Penny Tompkins

The Developing Company

Penny is co-author of the book Metaphors in Mind written with her husband, James Lawley. Together, they live in London and run The Developing Company with the aim to facilitate people to see the repeating patterns in their lives, to recognize how these patterns can change, and to trust in the subsequent unfolding of their spirit.

We are fortunate to have her with us during our annual January trainings. Penny’s experience and professionalism raise the room.