To prepare yourself for the LifeStory interview you will conduct, you should know the basic facts of the life of the interviewee…the who, what, when and where’s of their life. Don’t worry about the how’s and why’s yet. We’ll want to know them, but later…during the interview. To get these basic facts, having a Pre-Interview Questionnaire (PIQ) form is essential to getting enough information for you to formulate the questions you’ll ask during the interview.
In my previous blog post http://tinyurl.com/3zon84l, we learned the importance of the Pre-Interview Questionnaire (PIQ) meeting. For that meeting to run smoothly, your PIQ form will be the key. The broad categories I use in my PIQ form are: Basic Interviewee Information, Early Life, Adult Years, Family Background, and Specific Life Stories. In this blog post, I’ll briefly cover basic Interviewee Information and Early Life.
Basic Interviewee Information is just that…names (first, middle, last, maiden, nick, etc.), and date & place of birth. While this seems like a classic “Duh” moment, I’ve been amazed at the cool and unexpected info I get when filling out this part. Birth certificate names can be very different from the one(s) you know. Origins of surnames and nicknames can be fun. The interviewee’s place of birth will begin your geographical journey through their life. This is a good time to remind you of something VERY important…NEVER assume you know the answer, either to this PIQ fill-in-the-blanks meeting or the questions you’ll ask during the interview itself. Ask anyway. I’ve been surprised on many occasions.
Early Life should include first addresses as a child, lists of friends, organizational & religious affiliations and activities & interests as a child. With addresses, be sure to give yourself enough room for a few. Families do move around! Activities and interests can include sports, hobbies & musical talents. This is where you should start making charts of information. In their education history, chart the info using columns for when, name of school, public or private, degree obtained, etc.. Also include in this section other information you’d like to know about their childhood. Family outings or vacations are a good example.
As you develop your own PIQ form, keep in mind a key word I think of throughout the LifeStories Alive http://www.lifestoriesalive.com/ process…empathy. What would I want someone to ask me if I were sitting in the chair of the person I’m talking to? I wouldn’t want them to leave out ______. Take that blank and develop PIQ fact fill-in-the blank for it.
In my next blog post, we’ll cover the other PIQ categories: Adult Years, Family Background, and Specific Life Stories. Stay tuned!