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A Final Tip: Record Your Results

A good reporter doesn’t rely on memory. When you ask questions, use a notebook and take thorough notes. I can recall early in my career feeling self-conscious about taking notes when asking questions. Sometimes I was teased about quoting someone. Some people were less responsive if they saw that I was taking notes.

On the other hand, some people talk more when they see that I’m taking notes. These people are more likely to realize that I’m not trying to quote them, but rather that I’m taking what they say seriously, and I want to make sure that I get the answers right and don’t repeat questions. In most cases, when I take notes people get used to watching me record information, and they realize that I’m earnestly trying to learn and trying to record what they have to share as accurately as I can. As I write notes, I have a few shortcut methods; one is that I use the letter T next to an idea that I think I can translate directly to a test idea. As I review my notes after my conversations with people, my test ideas are already outlined.

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