Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mastering the Interview

I used to look forward to interviewing people for my stories. I also looked forward to minor surgeries, root canals, and trips to the zoo with hoards of three-year-olds.

In all seriousness, there was at least one thing to look forward to about these events -- the moment they were over.

Then I went to school for journalism. And I found out interviewing wasn't as bad as I thought. In fact, I learned five tips that transformed my interview skills:

1- Focusing on the fact that it wasn't about me. Most interviewees are nervous. In fact, they want me to put them at ease.

2 - The right tools make all the difference. For in-person interviews, a pad of paper and a pencil are a lot less intimidating to most people than a laptop or recording device. (ALWAYS let a client know if the interview will be recorded.)

3 - Respect the person's time, but don't be in too big of a rush. Try to start out with common ground and establish yourself as the nurturing, caring person I know you are.

4 - Do your homework beforehand. This may sound like common sense, but a lot of people don't take the time. If the person you're interviewing has a website, read it. Learn as much as you can about the interviewee or the topic so you can ask intelligent questions and not waste his or her time.

5 - Find put beforehand if you are allowed to let the interviewee see the final product before print if you plan to sell it to a publisher. If it's for your own private use, this won't be as big of an issue.

So there ya go. One topic down, two to go. Next time we'll discuss how to tackle the root canal head-on, as well as the trip to the zoo...

Or maybe the rest of you experienced ladies could give us a few tips in the comments?

B.J. Hamrick writes for you and for teens at www.realteenfaith.com.        

P.S. - Sorry this is late today -- I took the wrong computer to my "office" (a.k.a. the library) and it didn't have my post on it.


  1. Love this! Thank you for the tips! :)

  2. Thanks Aysha! I hope they help :).

  3. About the zoo...as a mommy of a 3 year old, I have only one piece of advice...

    DON'T GO.


  4. Aw, but the monkeys are so fun to watch! Er, make that MOST of the time! ;) Plus, if they get a little too Pelt the People with Poo, you can always go get a snow cone or something and watch little children chase after peacocks.

    Or maybe that's just our zoo.

    Great post, BJ!! :)

  5. HAHA! Pelt the poo. Yes I'm just kidding, taking one 3-yr old is fun, after all, that's where we first got the infamous Gigi. But a party of 3-yr olds...ehhh....