For freelance writers who work with magazines or on-line publications, finishing telephone interviews is a lifestyle.
Know-how, social media and electronic mail have definitely made it simpler to attach with sources, however with regards to writing a characteristic story, telephone interviews beat electronic mail each time.
Why? As a author, once you converse with a supply on the telephone, you’re capable of:
Construct rapport and a cushty dialogue with a supply.
Put an interviewee relaxed, making them extra prone to share compelling data.
Ask provocative questions that construct off of earlier questions and solutions.
Hear and really feel the particular person’s feelings as he shares his story, supplying you with a greater understanding of the given matter.
Discover new angles or hidden gems that may not have been shared if the interview had been accomplished through electronic mail.
Save the interviewee the work and time of getting to sort her solutions out in an electronic mail.
Methods for conducting an efficient telephone interview
After finishing telephone interviews with sources and specialists for journal characteristic tales, I’ve discovered a number of methods can result in higher, extra insightful conversations.
Listed below are 5 telephone interview suggestions that can assist you write higher tales.
1. Be ready for the interview
There’s nothing worse than leaping on a name with a supply with little to no background data.
Do your homework and analysis the particular person earlier than your interview. Ask your editor for as a lot data as doable in regards to the supply forward of time, and are available to the decision with an inventory of pre-written inquiries to get the dialog going. Not solely will you seem extra ready, you’ll put the supply relaxed along with your degree of professionalism.
Plus, once you put together effectively beforehand, you’ll be able to usually full an interview far more shortly than for those who hadn’t completed your homework. I wish to schedule telephone interviews for 30-minute blocks. With the correct amount of pre-work, I’m capable of follow that timeframe, serving to me full interviews extra effectively, and really feel assured I’ve collected all the knowledge I would like.
2. Begin with a softball to interrupt the ice
To get the most effective interview doable, you want your interviewee to really feel comfy. When a supply feels relaxed and relaxed, you’re in a greater place to seek out probably the most compelling angle and seize quotes that can improve your story.
Begin the telephone interview with normal pleasantries and small speak. I discover this technique usually helps the supply really feel extra comfy talking with me as a result of he acknowledges that I’m an actual particular person, similar to him.
To ease into my record of interview questions, I wish to ask this one first: “Inform me a bit of bit about who you’re and the way you bought to the place you’re at this time.”
This query helps the interviewee open up, offers you some much-needed background data and lays the groundwork for the questions that can come later within the interview. Additionally, this open-ended query offers you the prospect to be taught one thing new that may assist the story and set off different interview questions.
three. Pay attention (and resist the urge to speak)
Relying on if writing is your full-time gig or a aspect hustle, listening fastidiously could show troublesome.
In my position because the founder and CEO of a content material administration company, I’m normally the one speaking, consulting and instructing my purchasers. Being quiet and actually tuning in to a supply might be difficult. I discover myself desirous to have a two-way dialog, and whereas it’s nice to construct rapport with the particular person you’re interviewing, you’ll get a greater story once you hold your mouth shut and let the opposite particular person do the speaking.
On some calls, I don’t converse for 10 minutes — I’m busy furiously listening and taking notes. I don’t document my interviews, so taking clear, concise and correct notes is of utmost significance, making listening fastidiously much more essential.
And these calls the place I don’t converse for 10 minutes at a time usually give me the most effective data.
Resist the urge to interrupt with additional questions or feedback whereas a supply is telling her story. As a substitute, write down your feedback or questions and look ahead to the interviewee to complete talking earlier than you soar in and transfer the dialog ahead.
four. Embrace the silence
Silence can really feel uncomfortable, however within the case of telephone interviews, it may be pure gold. Sources usually share essential bits of knowledge for those who let the silence linger just a bit bit.
Due to the sensation of discomfort or awkwardness, the particular person you’re interviewing will usually soar to fill the silence…and he’ll usually fill it with nice data you could not in any other case have been capable of pull out of him.
Plus, once you depart room for a bit of silence, the interviewee has a second to mirror, collect his ideas and maybe share data in a distinct and extra quotable manner than earlier than. Don’t concern the silence; follow embracing it and you’ll quickly be reaping the advantages.
5. Finish interviews with this query
Right here’s the most effective query you can ask on the finish of an interview: “Is there anything I ought to know?”
As the author, you’ve come to the interview with an inventory of questions. You’ve got an thought of the knowledge you want from a supply to finish your story. Nonetheless, the interviewee is normally a wealth of data… and there could also be an essential query you haven’t requested.
To ensure I get all the knowledge I would like earlier than hanging up the telephone, I finish all my interviews by asking the supply if there’s one thing she hasn’t had the chance to share however feels would profit the story. Normally there’s a query I haven’t requested, and a few data the supply is dying to share.
It’s normally a hidden gem that I solely uncover in asking that final open-ended query.
Or, typically the interviewee doesn’t supply new data, however summarizes the whole lot you’ve talked about with a quote that’s the right addition to your story.
You’re a author, sure. However you can also make your job a complete lot simpler — and try this job higher — for those who ask good questions.
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Photograph through GuadiLab / Shutterstock