Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Top 10 Recommendations for Interviewing

I have recently received several uplifting comments. "I loved your blog post," or, "thanks for that podcast, it was very interesting." Others want to do interviews, and want recommendations.

Luckily, I have moderated numerous panels which is a key skill to interviewing others. Even if you have both chaired and been a member of various panels, interviewing others individually can be daunting.

Below are ten recommendations for doing interviews to help you through the process.

1.  Define your goals
Are you interested in creating a relationship with your interviewee? Do you want to be a thought leader in your space? What value are you going to derive from the interview?

2. Have your questions ready, but be prepared to ad lib
Don't worry about stumbling. Luckily, I have an awesome editor that helps me along the way.

3. Don't be afraid to scrap a question and answer
Again, you can edit out an entire portion of the interview if you feel it didn't work well. I'm not talking about altering what you or your interviewee says. If you both sound silly--do it over.

4. Do some research 
The key is some. If you do too much research, you get to the place where you understand and your readers or listeners don't.

5. Have fun
Try to integrate humor into your questions and interactions with the interviewee.

6. Prep your interviewee -- before & during
Let your interviewee know how much time you have. Provide questions and a list of information you'll need. Before the interview, remind them of the questions. During the interview, prompt them with questions.

7. Don't be starch
If you're both a bit tense or nervous, take a big breath in. Then take a deep breath out. Nervousness is bad, or funny, for listeners.

8. Mention listeners
What I'm going to start doing more soon is get more reader involvement. If you have extra questions--use Survey Monkey to ask your listeners what they'd like to hear.

9. Stretch your mouth beforehand
In voice training, you practice enunciation before singing. The same is true before interviewing. Otherwise, you might get tongue twisted.

10. Lead the conversation
You're the moderator. This means if the conversation is getting off topic, you'll need to steer you back on track.


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