Making Interviews Work for You
With all of the information available online today, many writers are simply avoiding the interview. If you’re one of the writers who doesn’t interview sources, you’re missing out on accurate and valuable information that can help your story be the one that gets more press.
The main troubles that writers have with interviews (outside of the anxiety many feel when speaking to strangers) include:
- Interviewees who don’t show up (in person or virtually)
- Not having the best questions
- The interviewee not speaking
- Hearing information that is contradictory
If you’ve faced any or all of these problems, you’re not the only one.
What you can do to make things easier is to start by learning more about your interview subject: who he/she is, what he/she likes, etc. The more you can understand the person you’re interviewing, the easier it will be to approach them as a person, rather than approaching them only as a source.
To make sure that your interview happens, confirm the appointment a day before and the day of, just to make sure things are ready to happen on time. This will ensure you’re on time too.
You will want to bring questions that you can ask, but also be open to asking follow-up questions in the moment, especially if you hear something that you didn’t expect to hear. Listening can be one of the most valuable tools at your disposal during an interview.
And if you get an interviewee that doesn’t talk much, you might want to follow-up with an email, as her or she might have been nervous or otherwise pre-occupied. You might get a better response in the email.
Interviews can work – and work well – for writers, but you need to work at them.
What techniques have you found work for conducting successful interviews? Please share with a comment.