I’m still getting great response to my Saturday post, which shared 12 tips to improve your interviewing skills. So I decided to write a sequel. Actually, I’m not writing it – just compiling this second list, from some of the friends who taught me a lot in the ink-stained trenches.
Here are some of their responses.
- Ask for details that appeal to the senses and make the story richer. “When you went in to the basement to search the files, what did you see? What did you smell?” The folks at Poynter often remind journalists to get the name of the beer. It’s all about those little details that make the story better. – Nancy Johnson
- How about asking, “Who else should I be talking to about this?” – Diana Elliott Fingal
- I read your post thinking, “Oh, I’ll add a tip because I am so wise,” and then found you used all mine. So that leads me to my point, which applies more to relationships than to interviews: Try to listen without planning your next question or comment. – Kristen Browning-Blas
- Act a bit thick, like they have to work a little harder to explain what they mean, starting from basic points of the subject at hand. And keep asking them to be real specific. I’ve had two people say I remind them of Columbo. I felt honored. – Bill Torpy
- Some great interview tips in here. The one I use the most is The Silent Treatment. – Carlos Frias
- I recently interviewed Mayim Bialik (“Big Bang Theory” actress, PhD. in neuroscience) about her new vegan cookbook and told her to slow down and talk to me at a fifth-grade level. She said, “Oh, really? That’s helpful. I’ll keep that in mind for future interviews.” – KKB again
- Ask a stupid question, prompting the interviewee to explain why the question was dumb (and in the process provide valuable detail). – Bill Zimmerman
- Talk less. Listen more. Keep questions short and to the point. People dislike silence. Let the interview subject talk themselves out, then hesitate before the next question. Eight times out of 10, the other person will rush into the void with a lot of good information or insight. – Julie Hairston
- What didn’t I ask you? – Ron Hayes
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