Q: ‘What if he doesn’t speak much?’
We’re about to get the ball rolling. The day of the young people’s first interview is here. And so are the nerves. Suddenly it’s a real situation. I’m sat in a meeting room at the Dean Heritage Centre with three of the primary research group. Waiting for John to arrive. Suddenly all that role-play we did back in the rehearsal room becomes very real. And they are feeling the pressure. As I did when preparing for my first meeting a month back. I try and reassure them.
A: ‘John’s lovely, he’ll be great. He loves to talk’.
Q: ‘What if we run out of questions?’
A: ‘Just remember what we looked at in the training: Listen, listen, listen. If you do that new questions will pop into your head. I promise.’
Q: ‘What happens if it’s over really quickly?’
A: ‘It’ll last as long as it lasts. Just give him time to talk and it’ll be fine’
Nerves throw up even more questions including some discussion about who will lead the interview. After some negotiation, they decide.
He’s warm and relaxed, as usual. It turns out he knows the father of one of the interviewees.
(That breaks the ice nicely.)
Our lead is off. He starts the recording device and the dialogue flows.
I observe them during the interview. Looking for signs of the training we did. And in my head I have a hundred questions of my own:
- Did we prepare them enough?
- What must they be feeling right now?
- Are they truly listening?
- Will the interview go as I described?
- Will they want to do another after this..?
The interview lasts for about 50 minutes. A good enough time to dig under the surface and to get some useful stories for the project. I’m pleased there are some off-the-cuff questions; a good sign that the young people are truly listening.
It’s been a good first meeting. After John leaves we talk about how it went and some of his stories are discussed.
We all survived. We have our first group recording.
The ball is rolling.