How to Write an Interview Easily
Definition of an Interview
The interview is a genre in media, in which the most basic features of the process of interpersonal communication are realized. The initial meaning of the term is a conversation between a journalist (reporter, presenter) and a well-known person, such as a scientist or specialist. The press conference can not be attributed to the interview: firstly, because the statements at the press conference are public in nature, and secondly, because the journalists’ questions are not consistent with each other and do not allow creating a single material that makes up the whole work. Knowing the definition is the first step if you want to understand how to do an interview.
What’s So Special About the Interview
The purpose of the interview is to show the personality through a conversation. And the most important task of communication is to talk to the expert so as to receive exclusive information first-hand. The resonance of the interview depends on who conducts it and how. If you want to understand how to construct an interview, you should know how to differ it from other genres.
Features of the interview:
- Interrogation of an expert. Unlike the reportage, where the emphasis in the text is on the description of the event, the interview is interesting thanks to the personality.
- Receiving unique information. That is why it is important to get the interlocutor out of the prepared answers and template phrases. The interviewer should be able to ask uncomfortable questions or talk so that the interviewee shares the most intimate experience.
- Narrow angle of presentation. The task of a journalist or interviewer is to find a new angle of communication with a public person. For example, you can make an interview with an actress of cinema and theater for a women’s magazine and show her as a wife and mother.
- Accuracy of presentation. Often, the interviewer’s quotes are taken out in the headline of the interview, especially if they are not ordinary or unusual for a potential target audience.
The author is the host of the interview: it depends on him or her, what exactly from the conversation will be given in the material, at what angle, and what form of presentation will be interviewed. It is very important to learn to hear and understand non-standard conclusions of experts in order to convey them in an interview with documentary-like accuracy.
What are non-format interviews?
- Pseudointerview. This format is used by specialists of PR services of a company who lack confidence. It is used when frequent questions of the target audience are made out in the form of questions and answers of the expert. It is better to make such information in a FAQ section or a check-list on a particular topic.
- Author’s comments. Surely you have seen such interviews where the author’s point of view and questions outweigh the expert’s answers. It seems that it is more important for the author to express himself than to receive information.
- Flattery. This type of interview is presented by newcomers (especially on TV), who were lucky enough to talk to a famous person.
How to Write an Interview Paper: Steps
1. Collect the information. Remember, forewarned is forearmed. If you are going to a meeting with an expert, it is important to prepare for a specific topic. If you don’t know facts and the news or disputes that are conducted in the chosen niche, then you will not have a successful interview.
2. Make a list of questions. In some publications there are interviews where the journalist’s question takes up a whole paragraph. Try to avoid questions that already have answers in them. It is important that there are no closed questions in the conversation. Such formulations presuppose an unequivocal answer – yes or no. Open questions differ in the expectation of the expert’s detailed opinion. And most often they start with one of the following sample interview questions: What? How? Why? Under what conditions? What do you think?
3. Arrange a meeting. This is a very important point. After all, experts are quite busy people and finding time in their schedule is not so easy. If you managed to agree on an interview for the first time, do not be late for the meeting. Important nuance: tell the expert for what resource (edition) you are writing and what topic you are going to discuss. If the interlocutor is interested in meeting you, he or she will prepare additional interesting facts that will add points to your material.
4. Conduct an interview. How to write a paper based on an interview? For this stage you need to learn the techniques of influence. First, you just have to tune in to the interlocutor and prepare for a dialogue with the use of general phrases about the weather or the atmosphere of the venue. For example, let’s say you went into the office and saw a guitar in the corner. Ask if the interviewer can find time for his favorite hits and which performer is his favorite. If you also play the instrument, admit this and then you will immediately be able to make your companion like you. Personal contact is very important and your task is to find the best interview topics through which you will get to the heart of the expert.
To catch the rhythm of speech and the style of communication of the interlocutor is also very important. Because, for example, choleric behavior will irritate the phlegmatic manner of the author and become an obstacle for getting answers. An emotional interviewer is unlikely to disclose the soul of a reserved interviewee.
Meeting questions and listening actively helps to make the dialogue interesting and to clarify how accurately you understand the interlocutor. It is especially important when you communicate with an expert in a narrow topic. Such phrases will help: “In other words, you think that …” “If I understood you correctly, you meant …” “Does this mean that …”
If the interlocutor is constantly distracted from the topic of conversation, then clarifying questions should be used to return to the essence of the dialogue. When choosing a place, think about outside noise. It is important that no foreign sounds are heard in the recording of the conversation. Do not dress too smartly: catchy accessories and an uncomfortable costume will prevent you from relaxing and adjusting the interlocutor to a confidential tone. A professional style is best.
5. Work on the text. Perhaps it is not a less important stage of work. Just writing down the conversation is not an interview. And when the interviewer does not structure the text, this is a striking error. A chaotic leap from topic to topic, the availability of introductory words, and the conversational style of presentation leaves a feeling of having raw and unfinished material.
Interview Template Analyzed
You will find the current interview template interesting. Before you start working on your own interview, you should read through our sample. Do not present it as your own work, as you may be accused of plagiarism. Try to write your interview on your own, but use the following interview template to get some ideas for your writing.
Click the images to see their full size.
How to Write an Interview Article: Tips
Questions for questionnaires need to be devised so that it is possible to find out the needs and interests of people. It is advisable to compile them independently; here an individual approach is required. If you decide to learn how to write an interview essay example, then you need to prepare for it.
- Before you begin to write questions, you need to learn about the person as much as possible. Different sites, personal blogs, even pages on social networks help to get data.
- When referring to experts, you must use real names. You want to hold a conversation in the appropriate style, so you will have to go beyond nicknames.
- No questions about the interviewee’s personal life should be asked. To deviate from the main theme and defuse the situation, for example, ask about hobbies.
- Choosing an individual for answers to questions, look online for other interviews. If a person is really popular, interviewers should already have contacted him or her.
- Do not ask questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Build them in such a way as to get detailed answers.
- Complex questions requiring large answers should not be more than 10 (ideally 5-6) questions.
- Be sure to take an interest in the plans of the interviewee, the development of his or her projects, and so on.
It is difficult to be successful with a well-known person conducting interviews just like that, but if you succeed and the person is really meaningful, you can rest assured that others will refer to the material. The tasks and questions of interviewing can be very different, depending on your activities. Someone needs the results of opinion polls, while others need the opinion of an experienced expert on professional issues.The most difficult thing is to know how to write down a first interview, and then you can use the compiled template.
How to Write an Interview Report Remotely
When does it become necessary to interview remotely?
- If your interlocutor lives in another city or country.
- If the interview deadline is fast approaching, and the person to be interviewed has left or is on vacation.
- Your interlocutor is very busy and can not find time for a meeting – in this case, Skype will be your helper.
The stages of the remote interview are the same as usual: preparation, direct conversation, writing, and coordination. They do not differ much from the usual interview, but still have their own characteristics.
- Get in touch with the person who will potentially be in the future interview to get his or her consent. A very important stage is actually the first acquaintance on which your further work with this person depends. One random error in the text can spoil the impression of you as a specialist. Therefore, you should prepare the template in advance, inserting different names into it. What kind of template? You can use the common template: “I, [name], am the author of the magazine [name]. We have many views and publications. We are welcoming and we really want to interview you.” Usually this works. If the person does not answer, try to ask again after several days: “Are you interested in our proposal?” If not, humble yourself and do not be imposed.
- Begin the preparation. Preparing for the interview should begin in any case, but with remote work this stage is much more important than in a personal meeting with the interlocutor. Information is all that you have! You can type the person’s name in Google and read who it is and what is interesting about this person. Then you can type “[name] [surname] interview” – study what has already been asked and memorize that in order not to repeat yourself.
- Drawing up questions is an important stage if you want to learn how to write an interview script. If you carefully studied information about the person, then read other articles and interviews with him or her. Do not repeat the same questions. Even if you liked the question of another author, try to present it from another side, add something. If you read about the fact that the person grew up in a village, ask him/her about his/her childhood, whether he/she dreamed of living in the city, what role his/her parents played in his/her formation, and so on. So now you yourself understand the course of the interview, and you can turn it into the right direction.
Remember, no one is interested in reading boring questions. Be simpler, more humane, and ask as you would ask a friend. Instead of saying, “Now tell our readers about your creative plans” (awful, right?), ask: “I heard you are finishing the second book (releasing a second album, doing a re-branding of a site). When should we wait for the release?”
Our guide will help you to save your time on writing your own interview, as now you have a clear understanding on how to type an interview, combine the information, and make it interesting. If you don’t know how to write other types of papers, it is better to check out other guides and samples on our blog.
Write your own interview with the help of our guide! Good luck!