Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tips for Interviewers

Lately, it seems as though I get as many requests for help from would-be hosts as I do from people wanting to know how to survive grilling by a reporter. Many are starting an Internet radio show, podcast or want to interview experts for their YouTube channel.

Interviewing is my favorite part of being a journalist, so I'm happy to share tips I've learned along the way.

1. Be ready for anything. A college professor said the hardest and most important task of interviewing is to listen. By the way, this helps in relationships, too.

2. Make the interviewees feel comfortable. If they are nervous, they won't speak as freely. One way to do that is to have a conversation-don't check off your list of questions.

3. Ask open-ended questions. These are ones that start: "Why did you...?" "How did you...?" "Tell me about..." "What happened when...?

Remember, the point of an interview is to share information, not to intimidate or anger--though it may seem that way when you listen or watch some shows! Enjoy the exchange. Your guest is giving his or her time and expertise. What a gift.

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