How to interview?
Preparing for the interview begins with the collection of information on the topic. This is necessary in order to:
- the interview was informative and interesting;
- so that your interlocutor feels that he is speaking with a competent journalist, and not with an amateur. After all, answering questions to which everyone already knows the answers, the interviewee will find you incompetent and, perhaps, stop the conversation.
Therefore, before interviewing, examine the issues, find out what your readers already know about this topic and what they don’t know yet, but want to know. It is useful to compile what is called the mind map in the English literature. To do this, in the center of a large sheet of paper is written the name of your interlocutor or the topic, which will be devoted to the interview. From all sides this inscription is surrounded by associations that come to your mind and can be useful for interviews. Thus, the construction of branched chains of associations continues until all aspects of the issues you are interested in are revealed.By the way, this technique is used not only during interviews and in general not only in journalism, but in almost any industry, in order to provide a structural approach to solving any problem. Based on this map, you can make a list of questions.
Also in this situation it is useful to study the information on the issue or problem of the interview. This may be scientific data or media materials. Thanks to them, you will better understand the question, understand what and how to ask a person what interesting and non-standard questions you can ask him, and you just feel more confident in the interview than in a situation if you didn’t understand anything in the subject conversation.
If you go to a meeting with a famous person, then surely he gave some interviews earlier. Do not be lazy to find and read them. So you will see what questions the person has already answered, which is known to readers. Some thoughts and words of a person in these interviews may possibly come up with original questions that you would like to ask him. In any case, the study of previously written interviews in this case is very useful.
A good preparation for an interview is a sign of professionalism and a responsible attitude to your work, so you should not neglect it in any way.
When the questions are formulated, write them on a draft. At the same time, do not use strict wording when compiling this list, noting only keywords in the notebook. About why this is necessary, let's say a little later. Also, the list should be consistent so that, if possible, the answer to the previous question logically pushes the following.
Conducting an interview
We continue to talk about how to interview. For someone who answers questions, the interview should look like a live conversation. You have a list of questions for which you need to hear the answers. The secret of how to properly interview, is the direction of this conversation in the appropriate direction, while it is necessary to keep it "alive". That is why you do not need to use strict wording, making a preliminary list of questions. Otherwise, you will simply read pre-written questions that will ruin a live conversation. Do not be afraid to "move away" from a pre-prepared list of questions. If the interlocutor said something interesting or you want to ask a question that is not on the list, feel free to ask, develop the conversation.You can always return to your pre-prepared questions, so do not cling to them, as a strict plan of conversation.
It is usually impossible to think over all questions in advance. Therefore, the interlocutor must listen carefully, without leaving an analysis of his answers to later. If you really listen to his answers, then you will immediately have new clarifying questions. Such spontaneous questions, firstly, will support the spirit of easy communication, and secondly, will make your article more meaningful.
If a journalist takes an interview and at the same time does not listen to the interviewee very carefully, unnecessarily focusing his attention on the need to ask all the questions asked, then this behavior will reduce the quality of his work. In this case:
- The interviewer may miss something important without asking an additional question that, if he were more attentive, he would have been born in his head in response to a previous replica of the interlocutor.
- There is a possibility that the asked question, which, given the previous answer, will look superfluous, if not inappropriate or stupid.
In addition to asking questions, it is useful to summarize the remarks of your interlocutor.By this you give him a sign that you understand him correctly. If he notices that you have understood something wrong from his words, he will interrupt you and clarify his thoughts.
It is important to know, not only how to interview correctly, but also how to process the information received and submit it to readers. To do this, first of all, you need to coordinate with the interlocutor the possibility of publishing the materials of your conversation.
In addition, it is advisable to submit to him for review the final version of the interview that you are going to publish. Perhaps he will have some clarifications or corrections (he may, for example, correct your inaccuracy or notice his mistake). Also, do not forget to clarify the wording of the position of the interlocutor and his titles, which may be relevant in the context of this article. For example, if you interview the director of a confectionery factory about the development plans of his enterprise, it will be appropriate to write in the article that he is a candidate of economic sciences, but that he is a master of sports in fencing can be dropped.
Forming an article, you should adhere to the plan prepared in advance. When a journalist interviews, he may not receive information in the order in which it will be convenient to read.In addition, some information obtained during the conversation may be well-known, uninteresting, or simply not relevant to the topic of a future article. Therefore, the interview itself can be changed when preparing the final material.
If you try to present information in the same order in which you received it, the interview may be devoid of logical integrity or completeness. Therefore, it is wrong to draw up a plan based on the interviews already conducted, since, without having a plan at the beginning, you most likely will not be able to arrange the material received during the interview into a structurally complete, easily readable and useful article. This again points to the need for careful preparation before interviewing.