When I’m writing a book, I do a lot of interviews. Some of them are with clients. Some are with people who may provide background or pointers to more information. I record all my interviews. Here’s why.
When you record the interview, you can concentrate on the conversation
Taking notes uses up valuable mental energy. I want to pay attention to the conversation. I’ve discovered that I get much more good information that way. Because I don’t have to worry about taking notes, I can ask good follow-up questions and follow up on surprises, too.
When you record an interview, it’s easier to quote people accurately.
The people I interview share their ideas in distinctive ways. Experts have discussed their topic many times and developed powerful and effective ways to get their point across. They have stories and examples on the tip of their tongue. I still ask people to verify and review anything I’m going to use in the book and starting with their own words makes that easier.
You get the actual words and style of the person you’re interviewing.
When I’m ghosting a book, I want to be sure to use my client’s characteristic phrases. The book will sound like my client if it includes phrases he or she uses habitually. It’s funny, but many times those characteristic phrases only show up in conversation. That means they show up in my transcript.
Transcripts are wonderful tools
I have my interviews transcribed. When you’ve got a transcript you can search it for a particular name or phrase. You can read the transcript several times if you choose. And you can highlight it and mark it up with your notes and ideas.
A good interview is a way to develop a relationship.
I interview people who have deep knowledge and great passion about their subject. That makes for great conversations, the kind that relationships grow from. After years of writing, I’ve got a collection of friendly experts I can contact on other projects or just to catch up.
Tools I use for recording and transcription
I do almost all my interviews by phone these days. Here are the tools I use now.
I use Uberconference to conduct the interview and record it. It’s easy to use and sound quality is excellent.
Transcription Transformation is where I send the MP3 files I record on Uberconference. Rebecca Crouch is in charge there. They do good work at a competitive price and with a quick turnaround.