As a researcher, interviewer and writer, there is nothing more that I love than to turn a blank page into a compelling, engaging story. But what happens when your great story subject is on the shy or reticent side and you still believe the story is worth pursuing?
Tips on making your interview subject feel comfortable:
- Ask the person to meet with you face to face at an interview location of his or her choosing. During your interview, put him or her at ease. Make plenty of eye contact and chat with the person until they feel more relaxed.
- Ask open-ended questions that help to start a conversation and let the person lead the interview direction for a while. Use the note-taking method you prefer, whether that is hand-written notes or notes on a laptop. Tape recorders may make your interview subject uncomfortable.
- Finally, if you have this option, offer the person interviewed the opportunity to review the piece before publication. If this is not possible and you have additional questions for clarification, make sure you verbally review the facts before you end the interview.