Interview Number One, Many More to Come

Last week we were given the assignment to go out and interview someone, asking them questions about a topic related to our research.  I was kind of excited about doing this because I’ve always felt comfortable talking to other people and I think that my research topic is pretty interesting.  Basically, I thought I wouldn’t have a problem at all with this assignment.  It proved to be a bit more challenging because interview-type speech doesn’t come naturally to me.

I sat down with an old friend, Kevin, whom I hadn’t seen in a while, to ask him about how the media affected him throughout his youth.  I started off the conversation with friendly chit chat to get us both comfortable and to catch up a bit.  As soon as I tried to shift the conversation over to the interview and getting into the questions related to my research, I became a little nervous.  I asked him if he would mind if I asked him a few questions, and he said it would be totally fine.  So I read the first question off a list that I had put together.  Things were going fine until his answers didn’t match well with the planned conversation I mapped out.  The answers he gave me led to other questions, and I was curious, but I felt slightly uncomfortable straying from the questions I had written down.  I don’t know why I was so thrown off by the fact that I didn’t have as much control over the situation as I wanted.  That is what we had learned in class: “Ask the question, then get out of the way.”  It didn’t come easy for me to get out of the way.

Kevin was able to give me great answers and lead me in directions that will be helpful in my interviewing in Mexico.  Now I realize that I need more practice with letting the interview go where it may, and controlling the direction only when it is going way off topic.  It was after I let him talk freely, without interrupting and asking specific questions that kept strictly to my agenda, that he felt most comfortable in telling me everything he felt about the subject.  That is what I need when I go to Mexico, people that are comfortable to tell me the truth about how they feel, without me inhibiting them.

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