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The Beginning Writer Magazine

Be Ready For That Interview

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Be Ready for that Interview

 

By Patricia Pochurek

 

 

As travel writers we often need to gather information from people to spice up our articles. Over the years I’ve made a list that I look over before each interview.

Do your homework before the meeting. Research the subject, person, or place.

Don’t ask questions that may be answered with only a “yes” or “no.”

Get correct spelling of names, proper titles, their phone numbers and ask permission to call back if you have a question. Exchange business cards.

 

Want to get them relaxed? Ask what got them interested in this activity or job.

Be flexible about asking your prepared questions. If you get an interesting answer, ask them for more details. Let them lead the way and you’ll get some good quotes.

 

Listen. This is hard for me because I’m a talker. If there is a period of silence, don’t jump in. Wait for the person being interviewed to gather their thoughts. You are there to get information, not to have a conversation.

 

I bring a tape recorder (and extra batteries). Always ask permission to tape the conversation, but take notes too because machines can break down.

Look around the room for personal details to put in the article. Is the desk cluttered or sterile looking? Any books? What kind? Family photos? University diplomas? Awards? What are they wearing?  Their appearance--eye and hair color, glasses, and gestures can make the reader see them through your words.

Find out what school they attended and query the alumni magazine.

 

Just before leaving, I inquire if there was something they wished I had asked. Tell them to call you if they think of something else.

 

Ask for additional sources and, if appropriate, what books they would recommend on the subject.

 

When you get home transcribe your notes as soon as possible while everything is still fresh. File your notes and tapes. You may need them later for additional articles for different publications. The more articles you can get from an interview, the more checks you will find in your mailbox. Be prepared and enjoy your next interview.

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Patricia Pochurek – Awards in fiction & non-fiction. Former Editor, The Quester Quarterly and Cracker Crumbs. Contributor to Southern States Fishn' & Huntn' Magazine and Tropical Breeze. Articles and photos in national and regional publications on fishing, travel, history, the environment, antiques, human interest, and RVing. Credits include: CampOrama, MuscleCar Magazine, Florida Angler, Mature Lifestyles, Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay’s Best, Miniature Collector,  Real Estate Executive, Get Up And Go! Veterans Today, and Accent on Tampa Bay. Author of Remembering Safety Harbor.

 

Member: Bay Area Professional Writers Guild, Florida Outdoor Writers Association, Travel Writers International Network.