9.9 Methods: Telephone

For journalists who need to get information from busy or distant experts, the telephone interview is the second favorite method for interviewing. It is a widely used approach for advertisers and public relations professionals who need to speak to clients about the message campaign, or to potential audience members to get the prevailing opinion about a topic or product.

Advantages of telephone interviews:

  • Two women performing phone interviews
    Steven Depelo – CC BY 2.0

    Still get the verbal clues of tone of voice and emotion

  • Convenience for interviewer (no travel required) and interviewee (no stranger in your space)

  • Interviews can be recorded (if agreed on by the interviewee)

Disadvantages:

  • Visual clues from the interpersonal interaction are missing (unless you are using Skype or some other live video link)

  • Easier for the interviewee to cut short a phone interview by hanging up if it becomes uncomfortable or confrontational versus if someone is in your physical space

  • For strategic communicators, the way that tele-marketing phone calls have tainted phone interviews can lower the response rate to phone requests

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Information Strategies for Communicators by Kathleen A. Hansen and Nora Paul is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.