Tips on How to Build Trust and Connection with Your Oral History Interviewees

Tips on How to Build Trust-and-Connection-with-Your-Oral-History Interviewees

Rapport is the foundation of any successful oral history interview. When an interviewee feels comfortable and trusting with the interviewer, they are more likely to share their story in a full and honest way.

Here are a few tips on how to build rapport with your oral history interviewees:

Do your research. Learn as much as you can about the interviewee’s life and experiences before the interview. This will show that you are interested in their story and that you have taken the time to prepare.

Be patient. It may take some time for the interviewee to warm up and start sharing their story. Be patient and give them the time they need.

Be respectful. Show the interviewee respect by dressing appropriately, arriving on time, and listening attentively to their answers.

Be empathetic. Try to understand the interviewee’s perspective and experiences. Avoid making assumptions or judgments.

Be genuine. Be yourself and let the interviewee get to know you as well.

Create a safe space. Let the interviewee know that they are in control of the conversation and that they can stop the interview at any time.

Start with light conversation. Get to know the interviewee on a personal level before launching into the interview questions. This could involve talking about their hobbies, interests, or family.

Ask open-ended questions. Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, ask questions that invite the interviewee to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in their own words.

Use the interviewee’s name. This shows that you are paying attention and that you respect them.

Be a good listener. Make eye contact, nod your head, and use verbal cues like “uh-huh” and “mm-hmm” to show that you are listening attentively.

Follow up on interesting points. Ask follow-up questions to get more information about something the interviewee has said. This shows that you are interested in what they have to say and that you are paying attention.

Compliment the interviewee. This could be a compliment on their appearance, their knowledge, or their story.

Share something about yourself. This could be a personal story, an interest, or a hobby or why you are interested in conducting these interviews from a personal level.

Laugh and smile. This will help to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Take breaks. It is important to take breaks throughout the interview, especially if it is a long one. This will give the interviewee a chance to rest and to collect their thoughts.

Building rapport with oral history interviewees takes time and effort. However, it is essential for conducting successful interviews and for collecting valuable stories. By following the tips above, you can create a safe and supportive space for your interviewees to share their stories with you.

That’s it for this blog, kindly keep us in mind for any of your transcription needs. Remember to always be kind, stay positive and learn to unwind.

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