15 responses to “5 secrets of successful interviewers, or how to get sources to tell you anything”

  1. Jen L

    I think one of the best ways to get people to talk is to nod and say “mmmhmmm” a lot. People instinctively like to fill what they perceive to be a gap in the conversation, and the way many people do that is by continuing to talk. I’ve gotten some really interesting comments that way.

  2. P.S. Jones

    I agree! I’m a natural chatterbox and I have to curb myself when interviewing. I had to learn the hard way that if I shut up, everybody else can talk. And that’s why I’m interview them, right?

  3. Erin

    Gosh, I have to disagree with #3. I started getting my interviews transcribed a few years after I began freelancing, and it changed my interviews for the better. I was never a great note-taker to begin with, but when I didn’t have to worry about getting down every word, I had the chance to jot down follow-up questions and really listen to what the source was saying.

    I also found that reading through a full transcript after the fact helped highlight certain points that didn’t seem important during the interview and that I might not have noted, but that I later realized were relevant.

    I don’t get every interview transcribed, but for me, it’s absolutely made me a better writer and reporter.

  4. Linda Formichelli

    What a great post!

    I actually started getting my interviews transcribed a few years ago. I can type pretty fast and had my own shorthand to make it easier, but I’m not THAT good of a typist — and I realized that I was often so concerned with getting down a quote that I wouldn’t be really paying attention to the conversation and able to ask intelligent follow-up questions. Now that I use a transcriptionist (who gets files back to me the next day at the latest), I can follow the flow of the conversation better and get better info/quotes as a result. Well worth the price for me!

  5. Linda Formichelli

    I’m a little confused…I do read through the transcribed interview again before I write the article itself, to refresh myself on the topic and decide which quotes go where. Or do you mean transcribing notes, like research notes I might speak into a digital recorder? I take all my notes in Word, and review those too. Forgive me if I’m making no sense…I’m on some heavy duty pain meds right now. 🙂

  6. Holly Green

    I liked this post. I am participating in the blogathon and am interviewing an actor for a post I am doing soon. I was wondering how many questions to ask him. I think I have 10 written down and I plan to do it by email.
    Thank you. I look forward to your reply.

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  9. Jay Abiona

    A lot of my interviews are related to a crime the subject may have committed but even if someone was simply interviewing a candidate for a job, you can always obtain an interview consent form and digitally record the interview. This will not only assist you later when you review the video to see the subjects responses to certain questions but will also help you critique your interviewing skills. I have a free E-guide that I offer on my website entitled 8 CREDIBLE Steps to Become a Successful Interviewer. I thought your article was helpful and I am glad I took the time to read it.