Thursday, July 03, 2008

three tips on interviewing for a story

I'm in the midst of conducting several interviews for a project I'm working on. I've managed to avoid doing many interviews so far in my career, which I've always been relieved about since it's not my strong suit. But working on this project, I've had the opportunity to talk to numerous people on the same subject, asking many of the same questions. As I'm going through the process, I can see myself growing and becoming more adept at interviewing. At the beginning I was stiff, sticking to a list of questions and going from one to the next. Now it's more like my subject and I are having a real conversation. I'm getting better at guiding the interview to get the material I need, and since I'm not stuck to a list, I pick up cues from what the person says and get material that I may not have otherwise. Here are three ways to improve your own interviews:
1. Practice. You may not get to do the same interview seven time like I'll be doing, but like anything, you'll get better the more you do it.

2. Know your material – what you want to get from the interview – inside and out. Your list of questions then just becomes a reference to make sure you don't forget anything. This facilitates No. 3...

3. Have a real conversation. If you're more comfortable and your subject feels like you're actually listening to what he/she is saying, you're likely to get better responses.

No comments: