Whether you are a corporation or a mission-driven nonprofit, telling stories–obstacles to overcome, successes won–can be one of the best ways to show people you are delivering on your brand promise. Human stories compels viewers and listeners in a way that other communications just don’t. But if you’ve ever had to interview someone–whether for a podcast, video or audio program–you know that drawing out the best story can be difficult.
Three typical obstacles are: 1. the person is very nervous, 2. the person is over-confident, 3. the person has tried to memorize some talking points that don’t feel natural.
Your job as an interviewer is part coach, part cheerleader, and part edit-prep-ninja. For the overly nervous person, you must find a way to connect–something you both enjoy doing or talking about, a person you both know, a place you’ve both visited. Your “small talk” before the interview will ensure success (or failure), so pay attention! For the over-confident person, your job is a little different. Rather than set them at ease about the cameras and lights, you need to make them confident in your abilities to show them in their best light. Most over-confident people are actually nervous people in disguise. So your job is to make them feel like the leader, when actually you are leading them to a better performance. The final challenge-someone who has over-prepared–is always daunting. Often I just let them get through all their points, even though it’s wasting time, so we can finally get to the “real” interview. Once you’ve gotten a subject to feel relaxed after they’ve completed their “performance,” then you can ask follow-up and clarifying questions on key points to develop the themes and answers you know will work for your production.
Amy DeLouise loves to draw out stories through interviews. For more of her tips and tools for interviewing sucessfully, try Art of the Video Interview on Lynda.com.