Health Literacy How-To Tip
You are passionate about health literacy. You learned a lot from amazing people doing this work. Now you want to share their wisdom with others. But how? One way I do this is by interviewing others for my audio podcast series, Health Literacy Out Loud, www.healthliteracyoutloud.com.
Here are some tips to use when interviewing others–whether you are doing so for presentations, panel discussions, audio podcasts, webinars, newsletter articles, blog posts, and more.
- Getting great guests. Always be on the lookout for those with interesting and important stories to share. I often find interviewees at conferences, whether they are there as speakers or participants. Research articles are another great source. When reading about something intriguing or new, I might contact the corresponding author to request an interview. Yes, this can feel awkward. But I’ve learned that it’s better to ask than not get an interview at all. Most of the time, that person is flattered and happy to say yes.
- Preparing for the interview. I always start by doing some “homework,” learning more about each interviewee and their topic. For recorded podcasts and live presentations, the interviewee and I also have a preliminary conversation. This is a time not only to hear each other’s speaking style but also agree on key topics to discuss in our interview.
- Keeping the interview interesting. While I want interviews to be conversational, there often is a rhythm to my questions. These tend to fall into a format: Why is [this topic] important? How can listeners help? What are ways to learn more? Sometimes I add a surprise question, such as “What keeps you excited about doing this work?” or “How do think [this topic] will change in the next 5 years?”
- Becoming a skilled interviewer. Like most everything we do, it takes education, experience, and self-reflection to become a skilled interviewer. I pay close attention to interviewers I admire by looking at how they introduce topics, transition to new questions, and wrap-up each interview. I ask for honest feedback from editors and others who know my work well. I also seek out feedback from those who represent my listening or reading audience. And though it can be difficult, I try to be an honest critic of my own work by giving myself credit for what I did well and problem-solving what to improve next time.
Helen Osborne is fulfilling her fantasy of being the “Terry Gross of Health Literacy” in her podcast interview series, Health Literacy Out Loud. Listen to her more than 175 podcasts, many with written transcripts. Available for free at www.healthliteracyoutloud.com