The first thing to understand is to talk naturally , appropriate to the person you are interviewing – formal with formal people, relaxed with others. Be on the same wavelength. Try not to walk in with a notebook in hand – some people will be put on the defensive and dry up.
Be at ease. Chat generally at first, maybe comment on an ornament in their home, or the decor of the restaurant, even the weather – start your dialogue on friendly terms.
It is a good idea to state again who you are, why you are there, the angle of the interview and the publication it is aimed at. When you are both settled and feel comfortable,you can produce your notebolok or tape recorder and suggest taking notes to confirm dates,names, particulars etc. Check the spelling of unusual names.
Never offer to show the finished product – people who are not journalists tend to believe they can do your job better and will nit-pick trivial points and want to take them out. If you come across a startling fact that will make the interview fresh and different, ask to use that fact.
Don’t delve too deeply if you feel the interviewee is embarrassed. Discuss how you intend to shape the article, so he/she has a rough idea. They need to be reassured.
Ask for contact details in case you need to get back to them to check a fact. If they tell you something “off the record”, respect that and don’t use it without permission.
Don’t use a tape recorder without his/her permission – that is illegal. In a one-on-one interview, you can place the tape recorder on the table and after the subject is comfortable with you, ask for permission to turn it on. If the interview goes well, you not only will have a good article, you have made a new friend!
Let me know if I can help you with your writing problems, if you would like to buy “Autumn Blessings” my latest e-book or any other of my 13 published books, which you can read about in the Books section of this Blog.