The 3 Keys to Successfully Interviewing Someone of Importance
While being a unique task, there comes a point in most journalistic and public relations fields where you will be set up to conduct an interview of a public figure. Intimidating at first, these types of on-the-spot interviews can be quite nerve-wracking when first assigned. Whether it is lack of preparation, or the nerves of doing this for the first time, there are always ways to work on getting better before stepping into the interview setting.
1. People like to talk about themselves, and people like it even more when you ask about them.
Seems simple enough, as that’s the job you’re there to do. Once you figure out who you are interviewing, the first action should immediately be to prepare questions before hand. 3-5 questions are a good starting point before heading into the interview. Gear these questions towards what event or object of importance you plan to write or comment on when the interview has concluded.
2. Listen, and be prepared to ask a follow up question based on their response.
Once you’ve asked your question, they’re going to gather their thoughts and respond. The important part of this response is listening. Adjust based on their reaction, and focus on something they mentioned as a follow up to what you asked. Follow-up questions will show them that you’re listening and taking in everything they have to say.
3. Bring an audio recording device, even if you don’t plan to release audio.
Interviews go fast. Sometimes you get 30-40 seconds with someone and you have no time to write down every word or quote they say. Bring an audio recording device, and make mention that you are recording the conversation. Having this recording will help you remember things they said if you forget shortly after, or even help when having to transcribe exact word usage for direct quotes.
Preparing for your first interview can be tough, but with practice and work the process and steps get easier as these interviews happen. Sometimes you’ll forget things, and other times you’ll nail it first try. That just how it goes in the world of media, and the important step is always practice, and always learn from previous mistakes.