5 Interviewing Tips for Writers

Successful interviewing for an article or book requires that you do certain things. Here, I outline five key points to keep in mind.

It takes a certain set of skills to conduct a solid interview for an article or book. You want to get your quotes accurate and your facts straight. To make it easier, follow these five tips.

Do your research.

Before you go into an interview, learn about your subject so that you can develop intelligent questions to ask. Try to find something about your subject that few others have mentioned.

If you can ask questions no one else has asked, your subject will appreciate it. Particularly if he or she is famous, it's likely they are asked the same questions in every interview. Make yours stand out by being different.

Be on time.

If you are conducting the interview over the phone, call at the set time. If it is in person, be punctual.

Punctuality shows the interview subject that you respect their time. It also makes you look more professional.

Dress the part.

In face to face interviews, you want to appear professional. However, be sure you won't intimidate your subject by over-dressing.

So, if you are interviewing a local farmer about the closure of the farmer's market, you wouldn't dress in a suit. Instead, you might wear nice slacks (or skirt) and a polo shirt. If the subject is an attorney at your state's top firm, however, the suit is the way to go.


This is the most important of all interviewing tips. Focus on what your subject is saying, not on your next question.

Make eye contact. Lean toward your subject. Listen to them as you would like others to do for you when you speak. It is amazing what you will hear if you are actively listening.

Confirm everything - twice.

Particularly if you are going to use a quote, confirm that you have transcribed it correctly. Also do this for any facts you plan to include in your article.

Doing this not only protects you from libel allegations, it gives the subject as sense of ease about being interviewed and quoted.

If you follow these five interviewing tips, you'll look forward to sitting down with people for interviews. And you will have fewer worries about misquotes or stating incorrect information in your writing.

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