A couple of weeks ago, I went on a course called Starting Out as a Freelance Writer. It was run by the Mumsnet Academy and taught by Joanna Moorhead.
Joanna is a freelance journalist who writes about parenting, women’s issues and health. She writes primarily for The Guardian newspaper however has also written for other major newspapers like The Independent and Observer and publications such as Family Circle and Prima. With over 20 years experience in the field of journalism, she was certainly qualified to take the workshop that ran for 2 days.
The class was structured around how to get a piece of writing published and covered the end to end process of freelance journalism; from how to pitch an idea to an editor to then writing and researching the article. Her workshops obviously work as previous students with no prior professional writing experience have been published in 2 major newspapers, The Telegraph and The Guardian so far. This impressed me from the start, but it was her easy going approach, encouraging words and passion for her work that left me with the overall feeling that being published could be achieved by anyone that had the drive and want.
So today, I thought I’d share with you the tips that we learnt on interview techniques. Joanna provided us with tips on how to interview someone from a journalists perspective, however I thought that the tips could also be of interest for a blogger that might want to interview an artist or designer or even an Interior Designer who might be meeting a potential client for the first time. So here are the tips:
- Prepare a list of questions to take to the interview.
- Dress appropriately, you want to ensure that your interviewee is relaxed.
- Start off by thinking this person has something fascinating to say and understand that your job is to listen.
- Ensure that they feel as comfortable as possible by being comfortable yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand. It’s more important to ensure that you get what they are trying to tell you than looking foolish.
- An interview is like a brief but close friendship and they need to be confident that they can trust you.
- Don’t be afraid of silences, that’s when they say the most interesting things.
- Don’t try to impress or dazzle your interviewee with your knowledge or story. They are the star and you should make them feel so.
- Ensure you reflect back your understanding to the interviewee to make sure you are both on the same page.
- Relay your gratitude for the opportunity to interview them.
Ok, so it was more than 5 things this week. But I thought that the information was too valuable to not share with you. So what do you think? Have you interviewed someone before? Is there anything else you would add to these tips? I’d love to know. If you are interested in attending her course, Joanna also runs a 1 day workshop in West Dean College on Freelance Writing.
Have a lovely weekend! It’s Chinese New Year on Sunday so I’ll be out with family and friends stuffing myself with food and enjoying the festivities. Till Monday. xD
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