It inevitably comes—the school project where your child must interview someone. Whether for career day, a research paper, or a family genealogy project, asking questions can make youngsters feel queasy. However, interviewing others is a skill that lasts well beyond the school-age years. Here are five tips to help your girl interview someone for a story.
Five Tips to Help Your Girl Interview Someone for a Story
1) Emphasize the importance of research
Knowing background information about a person or topic is the best way to create questions. It also shows respect towards the person being interviewed (and their time) and will make the interviewer feel more confident. Talk with your child about how they’re preparing for the conversation.
2) Discuss what it means to really listen to someone
Many adults struggle with this, even though listening comes up repeatedly as one of the most critical skills for leaders. Tell your kiddo body language is essential and that they need to face forward and make eye contact with the person they’re interviewing. Nonverbal feedback, like nodding, also goes a long way. Recommend your girl not interrupt someone who is sharing a story or thought, even if what they’re saying doesn’t seem relevant. It could be a stepping stone to something valuable later in the interview.
3) Suggest open-ended questions and paying attention to details
What was that like? How did it make you feel? What did you learn from that? These are open-ended questions, which makes for good dialogue. If your kiddo is going to someone’s home or office, recommend paying attention to what’s on the walls or a desk. Questions about those items could also lead to good stories. Take time to do a practice interview with your girl before the actual event.
4) Remind them to take notes and not be afraid to ask again
Notes should be taken throughout the interview, even if the conversation is being recorded (make sure the interviewee knows they’re being taped). Tell your child it’s ok to ask for clarification if she doesn’t understand something. Most people will happily clarify a point.
5) Stress she must eliminate distractions
If they have one (and are not using it to record), advise the young interviewer to put their cell phone on silent and out of sight. The same goes for a smartwatch. Suggest your girl should arrive or be prepared to talk by phone at least 15 minutes before an interview starts.
Don’t wait for the school assignment. Have your child interview someone for their life stories like a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or beloved neighbor. Add some fun to the project by taking a portrait picture, creating a sketch of the interviewee, or film the conversation.
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Written by Erin Prather Stafford
Header photo by mentatdgt from Pexels