From ironing out travel plans to deciding what side dish to bring, Thanksgiving can be stressful. However, your interview for The Great Thanksgiving Listen doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide for the big day so that you can have a relaxing, enjoyable, and fulfilling experience with your interview partner.
PREP TIME: BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
• Participants will need access to a smartphone or Kindle tablet with the most recent version (3.1) of the StoryCorps App. Download the app for free through the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
• Make sure that your interview space has a strong wifi signal, or that you have a data plan that is adequate for uploading your interview.
• Take some time to think about who you choose to interview. While we all have a favorite aunt or uncle, The Great Listen can be an opportunity to get to know a relative or friend with whom you might not be as close. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a family member with a different worldview. Avoid trying to change their beliefs, and instead learn more about other aspects of their life — their loves, their hopes and dreams for the future, and stories from their past.
• Take time to plan some questions ahead of the interview. For inspiration, check out our list of Great Questions. Make sure that most of your questions are open-ended. For example, ask, “What was it like to grow up in a house with so many siblings?” instead of, “Was the house hectic growing up?”
• If you’re familiar with the space in which you are going to be recording your interview, plan ahead to make sure that you will be able to find a quiet nook for you and your partner. Not only does this ensure that your interview will be free of distracting background noise, but it also allows for an intimate setting that will help you both to feel comfortable.
LET’S GET COOKING: DURING THE INTERVIEW
• Make sure that you and your partner are settled into a quiet place. If they’re shy, start with some simple questions. For example, ask your grandfather about his daily afternoon walk, or the book he is reading, to get warmed up.
• Think of the interview as a conversation. Your prepared questions are a guide, not a script. If your partner goes off topic, follow their lead. Don’t hesitate to share a memory about your interview partner, especially if it highlights how much they mean to you and could potentially lead to a story. For example, “Grandma, you know we always look forward to your famous stuffing. When did you learn to make it?”
• Be aware of your body language. A warm smile, eye contact, and nodding of the head let your partner know that you’re interested in the story they’re telling.
COOLING DOWN: AFTER THE INTERVIEW
• And that’s a wrap! Once your interview is complete, you can share and archive it for future generations. Create a title and summary and use keywords to highlight who, what, when, and where questions along with this year’s keyword TheGreatListen2017.
• Share a selfie from your interview, and tag us with @StoryCorps #TheGreatListen!