Blogathon, day 12. (And if you're reading every day, what do you think? Are you finding the posts helpful?)
Yesterday we talked about some simple, effective ways to get better interviews from your sources. Here are four more:
Talk market. Make sure you tell your source what market (and audience) you're writing for. If you're asking for tips on how to simplify your life from a clutter expert, for example, her advice will be different if you're writing a piece for a magazine for small business owners as opposed to a parenting publication. When your source knows who your audience is, you'll get better quotes.
Drop a nugget. At the beginning of an interview, I let the source, especially an expert one, know that I've done some research on him or her. Saying something like, "I know you've been studying music's impact and exercise for years," or "I understand that you have a new book coming out" can set the tone for a better interview.
Toss a softball. At the end of the interview, say something like, "is there anything you want to add that you haven't asked yet?" Then shut up and listen. Often your source will have something smart and insightful to say that you didn't think to ask.
Ask for a referral. I do this a lot with expert sources--I'll ask, "is there anyone else you think I should talk to for this piece?" Researchers know, for example, the other researchers in the field, and I may get a lead on a source I wouldn't have come across otherwise.
In all, you have eight great tips for better interviews. Your assignment: Try all eight techniques next time you conduct an interview.
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