Do you need to interview someone in person for an article or project? Here are some quick tips to help you on your way.
Your aim in any interview is to capture your subject’s thoughts and find out quality information, so listen well and give them plenty of time to respond.
Be interested, natural, conversational, be a polite but assertive ‘yourself’. Remember, put your people at ease – they’re the ones on camera not you!
- Prepare – find out about the issue and the person. Then prepare useful, relevant and interesting questions as your guide
- You may need your subject to sign a ‘Release’ form’. Always ask permission if you plan to film or photograph them
- Introduce yourself/project/aims by phone or email beforehand so they know the ‘boring bits’, Then on the day you’ll only need a handshake and quick icebreaker
- You may like to email brief key questions so they can prepare, find statistics etc, but don’t bombard them
- Your questions are only a guide, really listen to answers (what they emphasise) and adapt your line of questions because your subject will always shed light on valuable info you won’t have thought of.
- Have a clear concluding question so they know you are finished
- Check if there’s anything else they want to add
- Thank them
- Follow up later with what you said you would in a quick email thank you and possibly a photo for them
Listening well is the backbone of any interview. When we talk we know that how we say something is more important than what we say, but we frequently forget that when we listen. It’s wonderful how much people will tell you if you listen the right way.
- Use quality equipment. Trial it. Know how to use it. Charge it up and back it up!.
- Position people on the left or right side of the screen, not in the middle. Position yourself on the same eye level. Vary angles – zoom in (for important points) and out
- Keep an eye out for harsh sunlight/LED light, background noise like traffic, or construction
- Back up data and edit as soon as possible
- I’ve been using the Twisted Wave App on an iPad for my last few interviews. This has been easier and less intimidating for my interviewees than a bag of recording equipment and lapel mics