Getting ready to interview a hesitant or harried source for your company’s or client’s next big story?
Job 1 is creating the right environment so your source feels comfortable sharing information. Here are 13 ways to create a good rapport with your story sources – right upfront.
1. Tell a source you simply want to have a conversation. People tend to find a “conversation” enjoyable but may find an “interview” intimidating. Choose your words carefully to put your source at ease. If you create trust early on, your source will share more – and you will get a richer story.
2. Never ask for an “endorsement” or a “testimonial quote.” Both requests are immediate turnoffs.
3. Recognize that some sources may hesitate because they’ve been burned by unskilled writers in the past. Assure them you are interested in and want to tell their story. Say things like, “We’re on the same side here.” Remind sources that you’re happy to share the story with them before sending it off to the printer.
4. Avoid conducting cold interviews. Instead, set up a mutually convenient interview time ahead of time. A scheduled time will make your source more committed, more prepared and more focused during the interview.
5. Check any preconceived notions at the door. Don’t make assumptions about sources based on their title or position. Be eager and ready to listen and absorb their unique story. (more…)