There’s nothing better than listening to a great, well thought out interview, and nothing more cringe-worthy than hearing a bad one. Developing a rapport with an interviewee and creating engaging questions is not always easy but there are a few ways you can work to ensure that you are getting the best interview possible.
-Mix it up. Your subject has no doubt been asked the same question multiple times. Be original and find a different angle for a more genuine experience. Your listeners will appreciate the switch and your interviewee will love the change, potentially giving you more information than you expected.
-Clarify. Get your interviewee to elaborate on subjects that aren’t clear, your listeners need the full picture to follow along. Don’t be afraid to ask.
-Have a chat. It sounds very wooden when interviewers rattle off checklist questions. Play off things they say for further conversation, the whole interview will feel more natural and put the interviewee at ease.
-Leave open spaces. It’s a natural tendency for people to fill silence. Always leave a small space at the end of their answer for them to add on. A lot of the time this is when the real dirt gets spilled as the subject goes off script.
-Trust is a must. You are not going to get anything good from an interviewee that is ill at ease with you. Perhaps open up and offer something about yourself first so they don’t feel so vulnerable. Act as though you’re conversing with a friend to be naturally warm and encouraging. The aim is to get the subject comfortable enough to tell you anything.
Follow these simple rules for more engaging interviews. And don’t forget… never turn off the recording device until they’ve left the building! You never know what you might get.