Being a reporter doesn’t mean people will talk to you.
And even when you do secure an interview and get someone to talk – there’s no assurances they’ll make you look good. Every time I ask a question there’s an opportunity for an athlete to contradict me, correct me or just make me look bad. It’s why I spend so much time building relationships and why I’m especially grateful when they are intentional about making me look good – even when I ask a terrible question.
That’s how former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin and I became friends.
My first interview with Doug took place during preseason his rookie year. I lost my train of thought during a question, tried to recover, but ended up stumbling around and spitting out something that in no way resembled a good question.
I knew it was a disaster.
I braced myself for his response… which was brilliant.
He answered as if it was the best question he’d ever heard. He gave a thoughtful response and saved me from embarrassment during a live interview.
(I tell the story in the video which could be worth sharing.)
Asking questions on live TV and radio puts me in a vulnerable position. Avoiding the interaction isn’t the solution. Building relationships is.
When I have a good relationship in place there’s a greater chance the athletes will assume the best, not the worst, and they’ll make me look good instead of hanging me out to dry. The same is true for the colleagues in your workplace.
Take the time to build relationships and you’ll have one less thing to worry about in your conversations at work.