10 ways communicators can conduct better interviews

When you’re gleaning quotes and information from clients or colleagues, these techniques will help your subjects relax and help you tell their story with ease.

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Then, I switched to corporate communications. Interviewing was harder, more challenging. But I quickly learned that a really good interview was the secret sauce to writing a great story quickly.

Don’t view your interviews as nuisances or unwelcome obligations. Instead, here are 10 tips that will help make your interviews rock:

1. Make sure you interview the right people. It’s too easy to get sucked into interviewing the first person you find—or the one your boss suggests (usually a vice president). Instead, invest some time in identifying a floor-level employee who loves to chat. All organizations have a Chatty Charles or a Chatty Chelsea. Your job is to find them.

2. Start with the easy questions. Never begin an interview with your toughest, most crucial question. In music, that’d be a like a band opening their show with a cut from their brand new (unheard) album. No. They’re going to open with a crowd-pleaser, so they can build the right vibe. Start your interview with easy, friendly, questions. I like to begin by double-checking the spelling of the person’s name, job title, and email address. (This also ensures I have that info right at the top of my notes, which is frequently useful.)

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