1. Prep Ahead of Time
Plenty of nuts-and-bolts preparation goes into a smooth interview. First, you want to plan when and how you will do it.
“My absolute favorite way to do an interview is still face to face in that person’s environment,” says Tina. “Because you pick up a lot of nonverbal things based on their surroundings; you pick up how they interact with other people.” However, she notes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we rarely have that luxury, in which case she likes to do “whatever is most comfortable and convenient for the person I’m interviewing.”
That accommodation stretches to the interview medium as well. “If I know that I’m going to interview a doctor who works an odd schedule, for example, then they may prefer to do the interview as an email exchange. So, it’s adaptive to the SME,” Tina says.
Finally, make sure to audio record everything so you are not distracted by taking notes during the conversation. It’s important to get the subject’s permission to record them, either ahead of time when you schedule the interview or right at the beginning of the talk, and preferably in writing (e.g., email) or on tape. In the event an SME doesn’t want to be recorded, make sure to double-check with them if they want to be quoted in the article to begin with. If they confirm that they do in fact want to be quoted, then be prepared to take notes as fast as you can in whichever way you prefer sans voice recorder. If the SME doesn’t want to be quoted in the article, then it may be time to reconsider the role of that SME in your content.