Part 5 of a 6-part series on interviewing tips to capture stories from other people.
5. No story to tell?
a. Nobody is interested – Some people don’t think they have a story to tell and that their life is nothing out of the ordinary. In reality, everyone has a story! They just need some encouragement to tell it to you.
b. Questions break the ice – Your list of questions will help the person remember stories to tell you. You can encourage them to think about specific topics, such as where they have lived, what it was like growing up, how they came to this city or what their favorite games were. General topics also help begin a conversation, such as where were they during World War II, what they liked best (or least) about school or what pets they have had.
c. Useful memory joggers – Consider bringing along some memory joggers to the interview, such as old photos, letters of newspaper clippings. If you are looking for stories about a particular period, such as the Great Depression for example, you can bring a book on the subject.
d. Tell me more… - Encourage them by using simple responses: Tell me more about your pet skunk, How did you feel after winning the spelling bee or Have you ever wanted to go back to visit the old homestead.