Two sets of rules have made it to the Breaking Point blog. This may be the new gardening theme for me (probably not- as rules are made to be broken). The following comes from the uncovering of ESPN's John Sawatsky by Seth Godin.
You need to ask questions every time you interact with a consumer, a job applicant, a co-worker with a great idea or even someone sitting next to you during an interminable wait for the airplane.
I found John's seven rules in a search cache. Here's a summary of what doesn't work:
1. Asking a question with no query
Examples: "Your neighbors don't like you." "Some people think you killed your wife."
2. Double-barrelled questions
Like: "Is this your first business? How did you get started?" You're unlikely to get answers to both. One question at a time.
Ask: short, simple questions. "What is it like to be accused of murder?"
4. Adding your own remarks
Again, this is not the time or place to say that you hate Chryslers... You're not being interviewed.
5. Trigger words
One famous example of this was when TV reporter John Stossell asked a pro wrestler about the "sport'' by volunteering this about the fighting: "I think it's fake." The pro wrestler hit him--twice. "Was that fake?" he demanded...
6. Hyperbole by the questioner
Overstatement typically causes the interview subject to counterbalance by understating...
7. Closed query (Yes or No question)
If the question begins with a verb, its most likely a closed question -- and will generate a one word answer.
Good starting point on John: American Journalism Review
Thank you Seth for the thoughts and digging this out of cache. You call this The Riddler, but I'd rather call it The Mystery. Sports writers today (especially broadcaster) seem to stick so close to their format of questioning that America could probably parrot word for word most of the questions that are asked to athletes with little to no trouble. When sportcasters do decide to step out and ask questions that are on the edge of the interviewing envelope it almost always seems to come off like a Bill Lambier flagorant flop or worse yet... a Shaq freethrow (a wasted opportunity to put down two easy points). Jim Grey comes to mind as a frequent offender of this with his tenacious knack for asking the tough question at the wrong time- not to mention asking the wrong question to begin with as if to stir the pot (a good idea) but with a strainer spoon and trying to make something out of the nothing that was really there. He is not alone. Credit to him for trying, but he would need more than these seven rules to help him.
Stay relevant. Know your timing (it is everything!)
Back to you Costas.