Talking, listening, asking and answering questions, sharing stories – communicating. That's how people and, in turn, human relationships grow. And talking about life – your life – is the most important, most personal story of all. It's also the story we often fail to capture in a way that means something to the generations that follow us. The Legacy Project at www.legacyproject.org is a big-picture learning project for all ages. It's all about making your life story meaningful in the context of the generations and world around you.
A life interview is a powerful way to connect individuals and generations. It's a chance to travel through time. In the present moment, the best gift you can give someone is to listen to them. You'll find out about the past as you hear about real-life experiences. And along the way, you may discover some timeless insights to help guide you through your own future.
When you're doing a life interview, it's helpful to have a set of prepared questions to guide the interview. The questions give you a place to start and a way to structure your conversation.
The sample questions provided here are grouped into several topic areas: life events – childhood; life
events – adulthood; identity; the present; aging; and life lessons and legacies. Depending on the purpose of your interview, various questions may be more or less useful.
No single set of questions will elicit all the stories you might be interested in. The most useful questions will be those you develop through your own knowledge about the person. The trigger questions provided may be helpful as a start. They're meant to be suggestive, not absolute. Pick and choose among them as you feel is appropriate. And change the wording to suit your personality and the person you're interviewing. Also keep in mind that one question will lead to another and you should allow the interview to flow naturally from topic to topic as they come up.
Click here for some useful life interview tips.