A New Skill: Interviewing

Today we are going to talk about interviewing- hooray! This is so fun. I will call upon resources from Family Search and my own experience interviewing my grandma. Before we get started, I suggest that you watch this video. It will give you some ideas as to how to get going.

Quick Note: If possible, it is good to start interviewing with the oldest person in your family and them work your way down to avoid losing any memories permanently.

    A few things they mentioned in the video struck me as particularly important. First, preparation. Be prayerful about the questions you ask, and how you ask them. Find a quiet time and place to think about it. When I interviewed my grandma, I thought carefully about what I wanted to ask, and tried to put everything in order. However, I forgot the important step of giving her plenty of time before hand to look over the questions and feel comfortable with what we were going to speak about. Looking back, I see that we both would've profited from this, as it would've lead to a smoother conversation and more direction to our thoughts.
    Second, recording equipment. I used a very basic voice recorder, but anything phone app would work just as nicely. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU TEST YOUR DEVICE(S) BEFORE BEGINNING THE INTERVIEW. Trust me, I know from experience. Wonderful memories and conversations can be lost by a malfunctioning recorder. Always run a sound/light check first. Looking back, I see it probably would've been a good idea for me to bring one other recording device and having it running too, just as backup.
    Third, questions. Ask questions that evoke memories, and try to avoid "yes" or "no" questions. I learned this lesson as I tried to type the audio recording I had taken of our interview. It is somewhat confusing to the reader of a history if "No" shows up in the middle of the story. Ask detailed questions. If needed, schedule a second interview later on so you have plenty of time to ask as many questions as you need. Let your relative know that if a question is too personal or is about something they don't wish to share, you won't press them. Never be afraid to call or write later and ask a forgotten question.

                     Need some help getting started? Click HERE for some ideas about what to ask.

What has been your experience with interviewing? What have you learned? Was this post helpful?                                                                           Share below!
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  1. Such great ideas and insights. I've never done interviews, but I wish I'd been taught these things when I was younger so I could have interviewed my grandparents. What a great blessing you are to share these ideas with others.

    1. Thanks Aunt Marilee! It's fun stuff:)

  2. I was able to interview an older lady in our ward and write a short life narrative for her. Remind me to send it to you--it's quite interesting!!!


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