When going IRL (In Real Life) to someone of an unknown mind-set to discuss a possible haunting and what they might have experienced, it is best to start with a very neutral stance to open up the conversation.
Let's say you're in an old fort that you have read is haunted. Approach one of the tour guides casually and say something like, "I've heard this place has a reputation for ghosts, have you heard anything?"
If the person is extremely sceptical or a non-believer in ghosts they'll most likely answer about how you're wasting your time or the like. Simply agree and say that you were just interested in why people would even THINK that the place was haunted! Sometimes the person will then open up about the weird stories he's heard about the place. At worst, he or she will just say something like "I dunno" and you can pursue your next contact.
If the person isn't a non-believer but merely "sceptical", you'll probably get "Well, I haven't heard anything or seen anything myself BUT..." and out comes the story. These people rarely have their own story and prefer to tell the story that blank told them. If this happens why not see if you can talk to blank and get the first hand version.
If the person is a 100% true believer and possibly a little overzealous, they'll talk your ear off. MAKE NOTES (mental or otherwise) and only stick to the pertinent information you are getting. Maybe they can give you a clue as to where most of the ghostly activity has been happening!
If the person has experienced it first hand, chances are they will not be too happy to share unless they fall into the category mentioned above. You may need to gently inquire about what happened and try to feel out if they're looking for someone to acknowledge the phenomena or to disprove what they do not want to believe. Either way, try to meet them with what they WANT to hear so you can gather your facts and plan the investigation properly.Remember above all else we at the GHRS believe that witness comfort and safety ALWAYS comes first! When dealing with anyone be courteous, and professional. Use your best people skills and treat people the way you would want to be treated.