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Interviews Part 1 – The Start

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Starting an interview feels daunting. But it doesn’t need to be. Here are some well researched, tried and tested ideas to help you get started. The aim is to relax the interviewee and get them into a safe place to answer questions. It’s about developing rapport quickly.

Clearly these suggestions depend upon who you are interviewing. How you approach a stranger would be very different from a work colleague.

Start off with a question that invites a “No”. This gives the interviewee a feeling of power and that they are in control of the interview. Here’s a good example:

“Can you spare me ten minutes of your time?”

When someone responds “Yes” you are likely to have their full attention.

Next tell them why you are doing this as quickly as possible before moving on to the demographic questions. Here’s a good outline:

“I’m researching … for … because …”

There are three gaps to fill.

What you are researching, remember this is all about the problem you are trying to solve.

The second is the name of someone the interviewee should know about – even if it is “my project”.

Finally, the word because introduces a reason for the intrusion and increases success by around 20%. Use something like “I’m writing a report” if nothing else comes to mind.

That’s it.

Ask for the time.

Tell them what you’re doing and why.

Remember to experiment and record the results.

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