The best piece of advice I got this weekend about getting people to tell you their stories is, “You have to be willing to hang out.”
This is especially true in my current position, where my boss encourages me to get out and visit each of the seven tribes I work for.
The challenge is how not to feel like an idiot, dropping in and sitting around. The speaker who gave this advice told of a woman she visited no fewer than NINE times before she got the story…and even then, the permission came from the woman’s husband. At one point, she found the woman barefoot on her porch.
“Excuse me, I’m going to go inside and put on some shoes,” the woman said. And never came back.