Having trouble coming up with product ideas? Did you
know that there is a product that you can create in as
little as one afternoon?
An interview is the easiest way to create a new product
for you to sell online or off. By far! Let’s talk about it.
There are generally three ways to conduct an interview:
In person (face-to-face interview)
In this article I will be focusing on the “telephone”
Many beginners find interviewing a daunting experience and
avoid doing interviews even when it could benefit a project
they’re working on or be a new product in itself.
Beginners Tip: To overcome your nervousness practice, and
then practice some more, on your family and friends before
ever requesting your first “phone” interview.
Below you will find a few tips for when the day arrives and
you need to conduct THE INTERVIEW …
Tools you will need:
Cassette Recorder Online Seminar Service (with recording
capability) Notebook and Pen
Do your homework on the person before doing the interview.
This could involve search engines, the library, and the
who’s who directory etc.
Having some background knowledge will give you greater
self-confidence and will help you to ask more interesting
Interviews can be 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour or over
the course of a month or more depending on the subject and
the focus of the interview.
When you make a time for the interview propose to take at
least 30 to 45 minutes.
Suggest to the person you are interviewing that they find
the most comfortable place in their home or office to do
the interview. Being comfortable and in their own
environment will put them at ease and make the interview
process much simpler.
Rule #1 Don’t ask stupid questions… ask questions based
on the research you performed and on
items of interest brought up during the interview.
Prepare your list of questions in advance jotting down the
questions and points you want to ask in brief heading form
(they should be used only as a point of reference during
Listen carefully and establish a relaxed style of
Allow the questions to flow according to the context,
glancing at your list to refresh your
memory or fill a long pause in the conversation.
Be open to new questions and new points raised during the
interview. Flexibility in your interviewing style will
allow you to pursue interesting or relevant
sidelines as they come up.
Don’t worry about ending up with more information than you
expected. If it’s valuable information it will only make
your audio product more valuable.
If you are planning to use a cassette recorder, make sure
you check the batteries, cassette tape and volume BEFORE
you begin the interview.
Always ask permission to record BEFORE the interview
starts, and then get started on the
interview. Few people object to being recorded but if they
do, just use your notebook.
Using a recording device helps establish an easy-going
communication between you and the person you are
interviewing as you are not constantly having to check your
There are very inexpensive cassette recorders that will
hook directly up to your telephone and create a very good
quality sound. There are also services on the Internet that
will record the interview digitally which will save you
time and expense in the end.
Be careful when recording that you don’t lose concentration
as this will “deaden” an interview.
Listen carefully to what is being said and be sure to
understand the answers to your questions.
If you don’t understand an answer ask your interviewee to
clarify their answer.
If a person is evasive to a question or doesn’t give an
answer, ask the question in a different
way and at another point in your interview.
If someone gives “off the record information” turn the
recorder off. Respect their right of
Always guide the interview process, but don’t dominate it.
If the person strays too far from the
subject at hand, then quickly guide them back.
Always keep the recording on file in case someone should
ever claim they have been misquoted.
If the interview is likely to be in any way contentious the
recording should remain in your file for
at least a year or two.
Using photographs of the interviewee:
There are times when you may want to use a photograph of a
person for the project you are
working on. Photos of the person being interviewed make
your sales page (if you are planning on
writing a sales page for the Internet) much more personal.
TIP: If you use photographs, always get a signed agreement
before using them and as a safeguard for yourself have them
sign a Model Release Consent
form. There have been cases when a person’s photo has been
used without his/her prior
consent and the person has sued for modeling fees, invasion
of privacy, or for various other
Note: For a variety of personal reasons some people may not
want their picture to be used on
the Internet. Always respect their request if this is the
Ask open-ended questions:
Asking open-ended questions instead of ones that invite a
yes or no answer will give more interesting responses.
These questions usually begin with who, what, when, where
and how, and cannot be answered with a straight yes or no.
Example: “When did you get into writing?” “what made you
decide on this particular area of writing”? etc.
This type of questioning sets the framework of the
interview and is a useful tool when digging for significant
information. (also you will have plenty of useable material
at the end of the interview).
Write up any information within hours of the interview if
possible or at least within a day or so. You want to have
the interview fresh in your mind.