This past week I attended the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as the guest of General Motors. While at the show, I had the opportunity to interview several executives and designers, some in a group interview format with the rest one-to-one. Although I have interviewed people in the past, this was the first time that I had multiple interviews in such a short span of time — two days to be exact.
Before I left for Detroit, I did not know that I would have the chance to do interviews at the show. It was the first auto show I attended with press credentials, therefore I only brought along a camera and pen/pad for the event. Both worked fine, but in retrospect I would have done a few things a bit differently.
Getting A Clear Shot — My Fuji 5.1 meg digital camera is fine for simple photo shooting, but not for show shooting. I noticed too much glare feedback with some cars and blurry shots when someone moved which made it difficult to secure a clean, crisp picture. I’m not likely to invest in a traditional film camera, but finding a digital camera that shoots pictures fast and with clarity seems like a worthy investment. Fortunately, I can secure media photographs in many cases.
Recording v. Writing — I believe that I do a good job writing down the words spoken in an interview. Still, I noticed that several of my colleagues had digital voice recorders with them, a device which makes it easier to pick up everything being said verbatim. A few of my interviewers spoke very fast, making it difficult to write fast. I’m not adept at shorthand, so I was left with reading my chicken scratch later on.
Prep Those Interview Questions — Spending more time on crafting interview questions can be a timesaver and relax the person being interviewed as well as the person asking the questions (me). There were a few times after walking away from the interview that another question popped into my mind or I thought of a way to rephrase something that I had asked.
To Write It Up Or Not — All but one of the interviews have been written up and added to my “The Auto Writer” blog. One interview I am not planning to include simply because the information is better suited for a future article. My first two interviews I listed in Q&A format, but I believe that with pen and pad a general format would have been better and probably more accurate.
One thing that interviewing has done for me is this: it has given me a lot of fresh ideas on how to interview people in the future along with the confidence to just go ahead and do it.