Tag Archives: #1 secret

The #1 Secret to a Successful Life Story Interview.

Picture this. You sit down to conduct a personal history interview. You pull out your voice recorder and your client looks stricken. You reassure her that there’s no need to worry and ask your first question. She looks at the floor and gives a brief two or three word response.  It doesn’t get any better. It feels as though your “pulling teeth”. Beads of perspiration break out on your forehead. You finish the interview and leave for home tired and discouraged.

What went wrong?

Some of you will say it was the voice recorder that made the client uneasy. Nope!  Not the recorder. Today’s devices are small and unobtrusive. There might be some initial discomfort but it passes – like gas. I’ve done hundreds of hours of interviews and within a few minutes people forget there’s even a recorder in the room. So don’t blame the recorder.

Sorry to say but the problem rests  with the interviewer. If you’re not comfortable with the equipment or anxious about getting a good interview or worried about the questions you’re going to ask, then your anxiety is going to rub off on your client.  Neuroscience research has uncovered “mirror neurons” which seems to indicate that if we see someone frowning or smiling, it triggers a similar internal reaction in us.

In a word  the #1  secret to a successful interview is rapport. Here’s what you need to do.

before the interview, Make your initial visit a “get-to-know” .

Nothing creates more anxiety in a client than rushing in all “business-like”, ready to record. Take an hour to have a conversation with your client. Stress the personal. Imagine you’re dropping in on a favorite aunt or uncle. Do talk about the upcoming interview but spend as much time if not more on small talk. I try to get a quick sense of people’s interests by looking at how they’ve decorated and what treasures they’ve chosen to display.  A question about a painting, photo, or figurine can unlock some charming stories. And it puts your client at ease. Find something in common – maybe it’s grandchildren, a favorite author, or similar childhood roots.

Arrive for the interview rested, mindful, Focused, and calm.

Remember that clients will pick up on your anxiety. This  in turn makes them anxious. When you walk through the door to a client’s home, you want to be smiling and aware of what is happening from moment to moment. To do that effectively, you need to be rested and focused solely on the interview at hand. How does your client look? How are you feeling? What extraneous activities or sounds are intruding on your interview space?

Before the interview begins, start with some small talk.

I never  set up my recorder or camera for an interview without first engaging my client in some small talk. It can be about the weather,  their day or week’s activities, or any other subject that’s informal. I find a sense of humor and some laughter go a long way to defuse anxiety. I’m also mindful that we’ve a job at hand and I don’t let the chatting eat up too much time.

Set up the recording equipment with Practiced nonchalance.

Don’t make setting up your recording equipment  a “big production”.  The more I consciously avoid flailing about with my recorder and microphone, the less distressing it is for my client. This means you have to know your equipment superbly. It’s not the time to begin fretting over what folder you’re recording in or why you’re not getting sound in your headphones. It also helps to keep some chit-chat going while you clip on a lavaliere mic and adjust the sound levels.

rapport. that’s the secret.

What techniques do you use to build rapport?

Photo by Chickpea

#1 Secret to Getting More Clients.

You’re talented and motivated. You’ve got business cards, a website, and brochures. But you’ve few clients. So here’s the # 1 secret to getting more clients. Get noticed! That’s right. Clients need to know you exist.  Here are 10 ways to get noticed:

  • Join a community group. Find a group of people who share your interests. Members will naturally begin to inquire about your work. In time you’ll get client leads.
  • Give talks. Develop a 10 to 15 minute presentation not about you but on a topic related to your work. Contact service clubs and offer to make a presentation.
  • Run workshops. Put together a  workshop on  “How to”  do something. Make it practical and have useful handouts with your contact information clearly visible.
  • Send out media releases. Take advantage of special holidays to send out a media release that ties the holiday in with the service you provide.
  • Create a blog. Setting up a blog is simple with free blogging platforms like Blogger, Typepad, and WordPress. Write frequent,useful, fresh, and entertaining articles aimed at your target clients.
  • Join local business and professional groups. Every community has opportunities for  networking. Go to mixers and meet people.
  • Write articles. Nothing helps enhance your credibility and visibility than an article in a magazine, newspaper, or newsletter.
  • Host your own radio program. With Blog Talk Radio you can create your own online radio show.
  • Publish an online newsletter. Newsletters establish you as an authority and allow you to keep in touch with your audience.
  • Join Toastmasters. This is not only a great way to practice and improve your public speaking abilities but  also a way to find clients and get referrals.

Photo by iStockphoto

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