How to conduct better interviews

Oct 1, 2014 . . .

Interviews are an essential part of journalism and valuable interview skills would improve your career. Thus, it is necessary for journalists to know how they can enhance their skills when conducting them.

This article will discuss the key factors on how your interviews can be improved.

 Interviewing former Iran's vice president

An interview is a verbal conversation to get information. Interviewing people is the core of journalism; people could be ordinary people or experts such as politician, celebrities, economists, etc.

First, we will talk about interviewing the experts. Although it is difficult to catch a high academic profile and public figure for an interview, it is not impossible. It is important to remember great achievements need impressive efforts. Therefore, you should try to contact him/her by all possible means: emails, phone, and more.

Quite often experts do not get back to you. In this case, you should follow the events they would attend. Events are the right place to find many experts for having an interview or arranging an interview. A face to face conversation works better than an email or phone conversation.

Doing research is the key factor to perform outstanding interviews. Journalists should properly look at the expert's biography. Then, they should research about the background of the topic. Also, they need to read recent articles about the topic to keep themselves up to date.

As a rule, Interview is like a conversation, if both side of the conversation have suitable knowledge about the topic, the conversation will continue smoothy. In other words, when you, as a journalist, are well prepared, the interview will go well.

After all the preparation, be punctual and start the interview like any other normal conversations. Do not forget to start with basic and easy questions to encourage him/her to continue the interview. If the interviewer shares his/her opinion and you strongly disagree with it, try to stay calm. You can show him/her that you disagree with the opinion by asking polite and reasonable questions, but try to avoid any conflicts, since they can affect the outcome of the interview. Remember the interview is about his/her opinion, not yours. You can write your thoughts later.

In addition, journalists should be good listeners. You should concentrate on the conversation. Avoid interrupting and talking while the interviewer is speaking, but show him/her that you are listening by trying to make eye contact, smile, nod. Overall, silence helps you to hear more.

Interviewing the ordinary people is a bit different, because the experts meet journalists regularly and they are aware of what you want, but you might be the first journalist the ordinary people meet. Therefore, you should explain the reason of the interview, and you may also need to define the background of the topic and clarify what you want.

In summary, having effective interviews would help you to improve your career in journalism, and to have an efficient interview, you need to enhance your knowledge, be a great listener and be patient.