It secures active and positive cooperation between journalist and interview person
It signals professionalism
It creates credibility
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The Interview Golden rule no. 1: Ask brief, precise questions. And only one at a time. Remember: The best ones are normally the "W"s. (Why, What, Where, When….)
The Interview Golden rule no. 2: Listen carefully to the answers. And follow up with supplementary questions if necessary. Do not jump between subjects and topics.
The Interview Golden rule no. 3: If time is short ask the most important questions first. If you do not get an answer ‑ try again. And again.
The Interview Golden rule no. 4: Be specific. If the interviewee tends to generalize ‑ ask for examples.
The Interview Golden rule no. 5: Don't be afraid to ask stupid or naive questions ‑ especially if the interviewee uses technical terms or if he/she is difficult understand in other ways.
The Interview Golden rule no. 6: Watch your own firm expectations of the answer. They often lead to misunderstandings .
The Interview Golden rule no. 7: Don't let pauses frighten you. Very often pauses say a lot ‑ and a pause will oblige the interviewee to clarify or to elaborate on the answer.
The Interview Golden rule no. 8: Do not be the judge. Your opinion is not important, so do not argue or quarrel with the Interviewee.
The Interview Golden rule no. 9: Avoid an annoyed or aggressive tone of voice. If the Interviewee lacks logic or consistency, it should influence your questions ‑ not your tone of voice.
The Interview Golden rule no. 10: You are not stupid. If you do not understand the answers, it is not your fault. And if you do not get the message, your listener most certainly will not.
Question Types "W" and "H” : Why? When? Who? Where? What? How? All come in handy in any interview. Best of them all are "how" and "why". They should be answered in any interview.
Question Types Closed questions : Are you..? Will you..? Can you ... ? Invite to denial or confirmation. Good for a clear "yes" or "no" answer. B ut if you are hoping, that the interviewee will continue on his own, this kind of questions indicate, that you are loosing control .
Question Types Broad and narrow : Beware of questions of the type "You've just visited Europe. How was that?" or "Do you have any comments about environment ?”. This kind of questions will confuse the interviewee because there are no clear indications of the kind of expected answer.
Question Types Broad and narrow : Do not ask quest ions of the type "Are you doing this because you're a long way from home, or because you feel bored?" What you really want to know is "Why are you doing this?"
Question Types Double questions : Avoid double questions like "Why did the negotiations fail, and what will you do now?" T he interviewee will answer the first question and forget the second ‑ or he/she might take advantage of the opportunity to choose which question to answer ‑ and especially choose which one not to answer. Either way you loose control.
Question Types Loaded questions : Do not load the questions with your own personal opinion: "How can you defend such an outrageous allegation?" or "When will you start behaving decently ?" You are not the one to judge - u se the interview to present facts or opinions of the interviewee ‑ and let the listener draw his/her own conclusions.