Fourth in a series of seven blog posts on interviewing techniques to draw out people’s most authentic stories.

Maybe you are concerned that if you interview your father, he will be shocked or offended that you know so little about his story. Maybe he will leave out details thinking you already know them.

Don’t be afraid to seem ignorant by asking what appear to be the most obvious, fundamental questions. You can camouflage them:

I’ve heard a bit about how you started your career, but can you tell me more about that time?

How exactly did you move into making rock climbing gear rather than just selling it?

Think of it this way: your questions are indicating not that you are ignorant, but that you are interested enough to want to know more.

In the next post in this series, I’ll give you some tips on asking the hardest, most challenging questions of all.