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The Secret to Getting Great Quotes

January 27, 2010

A great quote can set the tone for your story, reinforce a key point or give your readers insight into the person “speaking.”

Figuring out how to get that great quote, however, may seem like a daunting task. The secret? Craft it yourself.

The Perfect Sound Bite
Every once in a while, you’ll get that perfect quote. The one you know will be the pivotal point to your story. The one that will make all the difference to your readers. And when that happens, rejoice!

But, more often than not, you’ll have a good interview with the person you’d like to feature in your article only to find that the great ideas, which were flowing so freely during your conversation, don’t translate well when you convert your notes into quotes.

Here’s the thing. Your interviewee was focused on the topic at hand and conveying her thoughts, ideas and opinions – not how those words would look on paper.

Guess what. That’s your job.

Crafting Your Quote

Using the information you gathered during your interview, you can craft the perfect quote for your interviewee. After all, you heard her speak. You know the types of phrases she used, the tone of her speech and the keywords she threw around.

Use them.

Then, send the article to your interviewee asking her to review her quotes for accuracy or suggest changes should she wish to phrase something differently now that she can see it on paper.

An amazing thing will happen. She’ll believe the quotes you put on paper were the words that came out of her mouth during the interview. Because the quotes you crafted to support, reinforce and offer insight into the story are the exact words she would have used had she been asked to put pen to paper.

And voila! Your interviewee will be impressed you captured her words so well, and you’ll have the perfect quote for your story. Problem solved.

Do you have a great way to get the perfect quote? I’d love to hear it.

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