Tom Peters has made his 31 points for interviewing excellence available for download.
Whatever you think of Peters, he’s a great storyteller, and that means he must be a great interviewer to ferret out all the stuff he raves about. I think his list is excellent (although his examples of great interviewers don’t strike a chord for me).
His “secret” in tip 26 resonated particularly for me: “I’m just a dumb old fart trying to figure out what goes on here. HELP ME, PLEASE.” For years, I told my journalists never to worry about saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand that. Could you explain it for me, please.” Even if you’re meant to be a financial writer and you don’t know what a floating-rate note is. The truth is just about everyone loves being an expert, and a naive question is often a cue for someone to hold forth in revealing detail.
Tom’s final, crucial point (capital letters and exclamation marks are his):
FEW THINGS IN LIFE PISS ME OFF MORE THAN GOING THROUGH SOMEONEâS INTERVIEW NOTES AND FINDING A DEARTH OF âSOLID EVIDENCEâ? â examples, stories, detailed process maps, etc. (I BLOODY HATE Generalizations!)