In the first webinar in our series on conducting interviews that take your stories to the next level, I talked about the very first interview that I ever did for my first blog with the editor of mega food website Epicurious.
At the time, to prepare for the interview, I read articles on tons of general journalism websites about how to prepare interview questions, and I dutifully wrote, re-wrote, re-worded, scraped, re-wrote, and re-worded all of my questions until I was sure I had the perfect set.
But when I was doing the actual interview, it lacked energy, connection, and opportunities to get great quotes because I was so focused on my prepared questions.
The key to successful interviews is to have a (focused) conversation with your interviewee to get the most directly, poignant, and illustrative quotes.
In the years following that first stilted interview, I was lucky to have the opportunity to see some seasoned travel journalists in action on press trips and observe what points of a tour they followed up on and how they brought up questions that went beyond what the guide discussed to highlight essential information that should have been mentioned (that we needed for our stories) that hadn’t already come up.
As the years went on and I became a person who does dozens of interviews myself each month, the roles changed. During a tour during the Women in Travel Summit last year, when we were having lunch and a wine tasting at a winery in southern California, one of the other writers on the tour followed me when I went back into the barrel room to chat with the winemaker. She didn’t have any questions of her own. And when I asked her if she had something to add, she said she just wanted to hear me interview the winemaker.
We’ve now incorporated this process of discussing how to do interviews, heading out into the field and going on tours, seeing what questions I ask, working on your own interview techniques, and then doing a postmortem on takeaways and what to do differently next time into our week-long freelance travel writing bootcamp (opening for general registration on July 10).
But in this week’s webinar, I’m very excited to do something similar in the setting of our free weekly webinars.
This afternoon at 3:30 pm EST / 12:30 pm PST in our webinar on How to Handle Questions and Responses in Interviews (Live Demo!) , I will interview real tourism boards representatives to show you exactly what to ask, how to expand, how to move on, and how to make sure you get what you need on the fly in your interviews.
I’ve got two interviews scheduled with time for us to discuss the context before each interview (I’ve created article topics and outlets for each interview that I’ll explain before each call), and time after both calls for questions on what I did when and why, how I could have done things differently, and how to do your own interviews for upcoming stories. Come armed with your interview procedure questions!
Even if you can’t make the call live, you can catch it in the replay. Just remember to register in advance to get the video replay automatically sent to you via email after the call.
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