"Yes" and "no" interviews are the absolute WORST. I can't stand it when people one-word me to death during interviews. But she asked him a gang of questions all at once so I understood why he responded with the same kind of ridiculousness, which you quoted.

After you quoted that, it made me think of another interview I’d done and how “reading the room” could’ve saved her. If an interviewee starts one-wording a journalist to death or giving snippy responses, maybe change lanes for a second. Circle back like Billy from “Family Circus” at the absolute least.

I recall interviewing an author about a character who was Muslim. I asked her what research did she do into her character, who was a Five Percenter. She responded, "Anybody can Google Muslim culture." I paused for a second and realized she was taking my question waaaaaaaay too sensitively, when it was really meant more like, "Who was your inspiration?" Just from the way she barked made me realize fairly quickly that she was getting defensive. I went another direction and the rest of the interview was fine.

But after the interview was over, I clarified what I meant by that question and basically said, "I'm not your enemy. That question was not meant to offend you." She paused. Thought about it. And then she understood I meant no harm. But I would've ruined that entire interview if I just kept laying into her on that one question because it wasn't that important to begin with. I get the point of staying "on the neck" of a topic that is the main point of the interview, but harping on it when it's not the end game just makes for a bad conversation.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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