Re: The Covert Interview

Subject: Re: The Covert Interview
From: Sherri Hall <shall -at- HILCO -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 16:44:41 CST

Tom Williams wrote:

> Most technical writers have found that it can be difficult obtaining
> information from some technical specialists. Occassionaly, however,
> one can get around this by using a "covert" interview.

All of the ideas submitted about dealing with technical SMEs are great! My
methods are similar to those expressed. As a woman who works with ALL
male SMEs, I find my softball skills came in handy when I was first
"breaking in" to the group. Now I've become a parent so I can talk about
parenting issues. And for those who fish, hunt, ski, etc., I work hard
at knowing enough about those subjects to ask intelligent questions or talk
about some gadget I saw in the store they might know about. (In
fact when I'm assigned to work with a new person, my first task is to
find out what interests him and then start reading stuff in that area.)
The bottom line is you've got to be good at small talk and making people
who don't communicate well feel at ease. No small task, but a rewarding one.
Sherri Hall * "No passion in the world is equal to the passion
shall -at- hilco -dot- com * to alter someone else's draft." H.G. Wells

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