O P I N I O N
Let’s walk and talk
When interviewing your co-workers, peers, and clients, take a walk and harness the power of storytelling together.
I n March, The Zweig Letter ran an article titled “The Power of Storytelling” by Katie Crawford. As I read the article, I was silently affirming her points.
❚ ❚ “We understand the power a story can hold.” Yes! ❚ ❚ “Every project tells a story.” Yes! ❚ ❚ “The most genuine project stories can be found by just having a general conversation about the project.” Again, yes! But how, exactly, does a marketing professional get from a general conversation to a written story? Marketing roles in the AEC industry are often wide in scope with a range of job responsibilities. Interviewing skills – a way to get from conversation to story – should be among them. So, how do we bring ourselves to a level of comfort and experience in the role of interviewer? William Zinsser’s classic, On Writing Well , devotes an entire section of his non-fiction writing guide to interviewing. From his 1st edition to the current 7th edition, the advice is consistent:
❚ ❚ Have basic tools – paper and some well sharpened pencils. Yes, even though so many of us have recording capability in our hands at all times, Zinsser advocates “be a writer. Write things down.” ❚ ❚ Keep your tools out of sight until you need them – some people may freeze up at the sight of your posed pencil. ❚ ❚ Let the conversation warm up before beginning your questions and note-taking. ❚ ❚ Do your homework – don’t waste time asking questions about facts you should already know. ❚ ❚ Prepare questions beforehand but don’t require yourself to stick strictly to them – allow the interview to unfold. Before the interview, I would also recommend reviewing your assignment, the end-product you
Jane Lawler Smith
See JANE LAWLER SMITH, page 4
THE ZWEIG LETTER AUGUST 9, 2021, ISSUE 1403
Made with FlippingBook Annual report