Whether you are interviewing for a local newspaper, glossy magazine, or corporate blog, you will want to build rapport with the interviewee. After all, the goal of the interview isn’t to interrogate someone but to understand their position on a topic better or learn the story behind a product or service they invented or offer. You might also want to interview someone for deeper information on a subject.
You likely have already researched the subject extensively. You may have looked at the interviewee’s social media and professional profiles to get a sense of their personality and accomplishments. You can use this information to compose your questions and build rapport by establishing things you might have in common. Once you have done the groundwork and secured the interview, here are three things to do to make the most of the experience.
Some reporters develop a list of questions and run through those questions in rapid-fire order. Remember, an interview is successful when the interviewee opens up, and an interviewee will do this when they feel as if they are engaged in a conversation. Career journalists advise new journalists to spend only 10-20% of the interview talking. You do this by actively listening to your subject and asking questions that dig deeper into the answers they have already provided to you.
Choose A Medium
While face-to-face interviews are typically preferred because the interviewer can take in the surroundings and connect in a more personal way, these situations are not always practical. Phone and video conversations do not require traveling to the location or scheduling a meeting site. Many interviewers and interviewees interested in a short interview find phone interviews efficient. Regardless of the medium you choose, remember to be punctual. Your interviewee is sacrificing their time, and you don’t want to start an interview off on the wrong foot.
Remain in Control
Your conversation with your subject may shift direction or lose focus. There are few things worse than spending an hour interviewing someone to find that you did not get the information you were looking for. Try refocusing the interview by using a phrase like: How does this relate to [the topic you want to discuss?
These three tips can help you maintain control of the interview while establishing a connection with your subject.