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Can we talk? 10 keys to get the most from your interviews.

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Presentation on theme: "Can we talk? 10 keys to get the most from your interviews."— Presentation transcript:

1 Can we talk? 10 keys to get the most from your interviews.

2 Key 1: Be prepared Research before you interview Research before you interview Write questions well in advance Write questions well in advance Try to see things from the readers point of view. Try to see things from the readers point of view.

3 Key 2: Be professional Dress appropriately Dress appropriately Shake hands, make eye contact Shake hands, make eye contact Be serious Be serious Never ever say can I get a quote. Never ever say can I get a quote.

4 Key 3:Be a good listener An interview is like a conversation. Get your subject talking. An interview is like a conversation. Get your subject talking. Dont be afraid of silence. Dont be afraid of silence. Dont comment on or add to your subjects answers. Dont comment on or add to your subjects answers. Be ready to ask follow-ups. Be ready to ask follow-ups.

5 Key 4: Ask questions that will get them talking Avoid yes or no questions Avoid yes or no questions Ask them to describe, evaluate, tell about favorite experiences Ask them to describe, evaluate, tell about favorite experiences What was it like to... What was it like to... Describe... Describe... Whats the best/worst experience... Whats the best/worst experience... Whats the most gratifying/most embarrassing... Whats the most gratifying/most embarrassing... NEVER EVER CONDUCT INTERVIEWS VIA SURVEY OR . NEVER EVER CONDUCT INTERVIEWS VIA SURVEY OR .

6 KEY 5: If you get behind in your notetaking, dont be afraid to have silence while you catch up. It looks professional when you say can you repeat that, I want to make sure I get it exactly right. It looks professional when you say can you repeat that, I want to make sure I get it exactly right. Other tips Other tips Use a tape recorder Use a tape recorder Develop a system of short hand Develop a system of short hand Mark direct quotes as you take em down Mark direct quotes as you take em down Sometimes ask a filler question to buy time. Sometimes ask a filler question to buy time.

7 Key Six: So long as you prepared, there are no dumb questions Better to be overly thorough than inaccurate. Better to be overly thorough than inaccurate. Be honestexplain you dont know the subject well and want to get it right for your readers. Be honestexplain you dont know the subject well and want to get it right for your readers. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE ANSWER BEFORE YOU MOVE ON. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE ANSWER BEFORE YOU MOVE ON.

8 Key 7: Dont be afraid to ask tough questions. Pick the right time Pick the right time If its a really, really controversial question, save it for last. If its a really, really controversial question, save it for last. Dont be afraid to preface with I know this is a really difficult question. Dont be afraid to preface with I know this is a really difficult question.

9 Key 8: Dont be afraid to play Devils Advocate Very helpful when dealing with administrators, others trying to feed you the corporate line. Very helpful when dealing with administrators, others trying to feed you the corporate line. Ex: Mr. Grimes, I know you said hats are banned because you feel they disrupt the learning environment, but during spirit week we had hat day and we seemed to learn just fine. To what extent would it be fair to say that this shows students can handle wearing hats and learning at the same time. Ex: Mr. Grimes, I know you said hats are banned because you feel they disrupt the learning environment, but during spirit week we had hat day and we seemed to learn just fine. To what extent would it be fair to say that this shows students can handle wearing hats and learning at the same time.

10 Key 9: Stay in control of the interview Remember, youre providing a service to your readers. You have a responsibility to get answers. Even the tough ones. If your subject ducks away, rephrase the question. If they ramble, look for a subtle way to get them back on subject. Remember, youre providing a service to your readers. You have a responsibility to get answers. Even the tough ones. If your subject ducks away, rephrase the question. If they ramble, look for a subtle way to get them back on subject. Avoid off the record answers. Avoid off the record answers. Never let the subject see your notes. Never let the subject see your notes. Avoid anonymous sources unless absolutely necessary (consult your editors and/or staff policy). Avoid anonymous sources unless absolutely necessary (consult your editors and/or staff policy).

11 Key 10: End by thanking the subject and establishing guidelines for follow ups, if necessary. A pretty good closing question is Is there anything else youd like to add. A pretty good closing question is Is there anything else youd like to add. Many reporters will double-check name spellings, job titles etc. Many reporters will double-check name spellings, job titles etc. If you start and end on a professional note, people will be impressed. The more impressed, the better your reputation, the more access you get. If you start and end on a professional note, people will be impressed. The more impressed, the better your reputation, the more access you get.


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