by John Brady, Author - "The Craft of Interviewing"
Sometimes you can persuade a reluctant interviewee to open himself up by feeding him a Day-in-the-Life question. "Whenever I sense that the interview has hit an unresponsive snag and I am stuck with an inarticulate interviewee," said the late freelance writer Mort Weisinger, "I resort to a gambit which has worked wonders. I simply say, 'Mr. Jones, could you describe to me what you do on a typical day in your life, from the moment you get up until going to sleep at night?' Brother, does this question move mountains!"
Even small talk can move mountains. A tired, almost trivial question can pry open the soul of a politician, for instance, if it hits home. "Ask him how he handles the risk of disappointment when campaigning for office," advises Barbara Walters. "We've all wanted something desperately, but only the daring or the tough try for it so publicly. Ask him about the pressure on his family to be model people because all eyes are on them. Ask him if he was a leader when he was a small boy. Ask him what taught him the most about succeeding in life. Ask him if politicians with opposite views ever become close friends. Ask if he feels an obligation to be trim, neat, and barbered at all times. Ask him if he can manage the time to have a hobby. Ask if he has a hero."