Things To Keep In Mind When Interviewing Experts

English: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton ...

English: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz answers questions during an interview April 15, 2009 with Lara Logan from “60 Minutes.” During the discussion, General Schwartz spoke about the capabilities of the unmanned aircraft system and its significant impact to the mission. The interview is part of a broadcast that aired May 10, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It can be difficult to interview experts in any field. Often times, these experts do not have time to set aside when they are unsure of what may come from the interview. Some experts are eager to interview and enjoy doing so. They will talk to anyone who wants to listen to them speak. When interviewing experts, be sure that you are up to date on technical jargon. Experts tend to use this jargon and if you do not understand it, you may become lost in the conversation or not portray the correct message.

Before interviewing any experts make sure to develop a list of questions you want to go over. You want to focus on questions that provide an answer, but also allow you to take a further action. The best questions are ones that are open ended and encourage you to converse.

You will need to develop a list of potential interviewees. These are the people that you want to interview and include in your report. When scheduling your interviewees, make sure that you ask for roughly 45 minutes. Some people may only allot 30 minutes to the interview, but others may continue talking for an hour or more. Ideally, you should only conduct two interviews per week.

Now it is time for the interview. During this step you will need to begin by letting the interviewee know who you are and the purpose of their visit. You should then begin asking them the questions you have. Use this question list as a general guideline and do not stick to it tentatively. Always write down any information an interviewee wants you to know.

Take notes and take them well. You will need these notes when you move on to constructing a draft of the entire interview. You will need to clarify any thoughts and finish answering any questions. You can transcribe your interview into paragraphs and thoughts. Always write down anything off the top of your head to remember the information.

Once you have a draft of your interview, make sure to send it over to the interviewee for them to look over. They will be able to discuss any additional thoughts and provide clarification anywhere that is needed.

Once ready, review your report and make sure everything is set to your standard and liking. You can review samples of your report with your intended audience to gauge their opinion on the report as well. Make sure you effectively communicate the message of the expert from the interview and always tie up any loose ends before you begin delivering the report.

Always follow up and make sure that your work does not just become a back of the shelf piece. Follow through with all actions related to the interviews and reports. Lastly, always thank the experts for dedicating their time to an interview.

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