3. Be an expert at conducting research
A key part of the user research role is in crafting research questions at the right level to help learn about the users and test hypotheses.
Fieldwork is considerably more complicated than just talking to people. A skilled researcher will be trained in cognitive biases, and will have learned that an interview is not the same as a conversation, and that keeping quiet and allowing for an awkward silence is often necessary to surface insights.
Sometimes situations in the field differ from expectations. Anything can happen at any time. A good researcher will be able to quickly adjust, keeping research questions in mind to get the information needed in a way that is seamless to the research participant.
Notetaking is another skill that looks easy on the surface, but actually requires training and practice. To be useful, notes need to capture information at the right level. The key pieces of information should be recorded verbatim. An expert researcher will not interpret or making assumptions while notetaking.