A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed a man about dishwashers.
I discovered an awful lot. For instance, I learnt that you can identify if someone is partial to a gin and tonic from the state of their dishwasher (it will contain trapped lemon pips). I also found out the best types of dishwasher to repair (the fewer screws the better).
Having quizzed him on the number and nature of most call-outs, I have more than enough material for a feature on “a day in the life of a dishwasher repair person.”
I have a confession to make though. I wasn’t interviewing him for a feature – he was just in my house repairing my dishwasher and I found myself doing it accidentally.
Journalists get so used to asking people questions that they find themselves doing it even when they are “off duty”.
By nature, us journalists tend to be nosy and (a more desirable attribute) we’re usually extremely interested in people and the minutiae of their lives. We also develop the ability to get people to open up and get them chatting happily about themselves.
Adrian and I are very aware that we have a tendency to do this. We also amuse ourselves occasionally at parties by seeing how much we can find out about someone else without revealing a single thing about ourselves.
So why am I telling you this and why does it matter to you? Your business almost certainly has dozens of stories to tell, and you might not realise just how interesting they are to other people. You might think you lack the skills to find stories from your colleagues and clients – but really it just means being interested in them and asking lots of questions.
PS The dishwasher man came back a week later to fit a part. I now know everything about his dog too.