Four Ways to Build Relationships with Story Subjects

OnLine Newsletter Winter 2019

Want to get closer to a story? Take time during an interview to build a relationship with your subject(s). Use these four tips during your next interview:

1. Listen. Avoid rushing through what you want to ask. Instead, listen to what your subject wants to say. They will feel more valued, and your story might get more interesting.

2. Show you care. Body language speaks volumes. Remember to smile, nod and lean towards a speaker. It is always a challenge to make eye contact while taking notes, but do it as much as you can.

3. Ask for more. Some people may have a set answer for expected questions. Dig deeper with open-ended questions, such as, “Tell me more about why you started doing this.”

4. Time equals trust. There’s no substitute for taking time to get to know someone. Deadlines often drive us, but if you rush an interview, it shows in the story. Give yourself time to discover more interesting and engaging stories.

The subject—and your readers—will thank you.