The Art of Interviewing: 5 Tips to Get Great Quotes

Interviewing Tips for Travel Writers
21 March 2011 Post Author:
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Interviewing another person is one of the important skills that any travel writer may wish to develop.

Interviewing anyone – whether a tour guide, a celebrity, hotelier or a fellow traveler – will give you new ideas to write about, and a fresh angle on what might have looked like a stale story line.

Quotes and insights from a person who is knowledgeable on your topic will lend depth and color to any story.

But interviewing is not something you can learn by attending journalism school or a writer’s workshop. Like any craft, you need time and practice to develop it.

Five Tips to Getting Those Juicy Quotes

  1. Switch on the TV – Get some tips on interviewing from your favorite talk shows and/or news channel. Observe how the host/reporter asks questions, and how the interviewee responds. Take note of what kind of questions lead to answers that catch your attention.
  2. Do your research – It’s difficult to ask questions if you don’t even know what you want to discuss. Read magazines, surf the net, go to library. You can ask intelligent questions if you know more about the topic that you want to interview someone about.
  3. Write down the questions – This list will serve as a guide and will be based on what you gathered from your research. But you don’t need to ask everything that you put in the list. The actual interview may prompt you to ask new -and more interesting – questions.
  4. Contact the interviewee and schedule the interview – Be clear as to the date, interview topic and purpose of the interview. You also need to inform the interviewee on how and where do you propose to hold the interview. Would it be conducted in person, over the phone or via e-mail? Please be more accommodating to your interviewees preferences as you are, after all, asking them to spend their time answering your queries.
  5. Prepare the materials – Check if your digital recorder is working. Don’t forget your cellphone as you or the interviewee may need to contact each other at the last minute. And even if you’re recording it, always to remember to bring pen and paper. Take down notes during the interview – as this will allow you to keep in pace with how your interviewee talks and whether he/she veering from one topic to another.

    These notes will also serve as insurance – there’s always, ALWAYS, a possibility that your recorder will conk out in the middle of the interview.

~ Prime

Do you interview others? Share your advice!

One Response to “The Art of Interviewing: 5 Tips to Get Great Quotes”

  1. Excellent tips, Prime! Interviews are a great way to add content to a blog when one is running lean on posts.

    I also like to send my questions to the person I’m interviewing at least a few days in advance, but I ask them to just jot down a few thoughts or points, and to avoid scripting an answer – it helps to get a more natural sounding interview, rather than sounding like they’re reading from a piece of paper….I do the same for myself and don’t script the questions, but just make a list of one- or two-word question topics, then I ‘ad lib’ asking them a question on the topic.

    Another thing I do that I think really helps to get a good interview is to run through it twice – sometimes folks are just nervous the first time through and a second run at it is more relaxed. By keeping the interview short (no more than 10 minutes, since most people don’t like to listen to long interviews), there’s generally enough time to repeat it from the top. And if needed, I can splice the best of both together using an editing tool like Audacity.

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