At the end of the interview she asked if she could give me a hug. She told me she wanted to thank me for treating her with dignity and respect and that she felt very comfortable in telling me her story. Video interviews can be the lifeblood of your client’s production. Your client has looked to your expertise to convince their market to buy their product or service. Storytelling through interviews can give an organization a human face and can impart powerful messages that can have a lasting impact your client’s market.
I’ve learned a few secrets and approach every interview, no matter the person or their story, in the same way.
Preparation is the most important step to conducting a successful interview. Understand your client’s goals, market and business. Research your interviewee and if that it isn’t possible then research the type of people you may be talking to.
Greet your guest warmly. Make an effort and do it before they reach the hot seat. People are often very nervous and establishing yourself as a friendly face goes a long way to easing their anxiety and establishing a comfort zone. You don’t want a deer in the headlights come interview time.
Appreciate and thank your guests. Your guest may have taken time from their work day or a day off. You are being paid to interview. They may have volunteered. Thank them and make them feel genuinely appreciated for their time.
Prepare your guests. They are in unfamiliar territory. Take a few minutes to talk with your guest about what is going to happen and what questions may be asked even if already supplied.
Prepare your guests for the time it will take. Your guest may think that the interview will be over in a few minutes and become impatient when it isn’t. Reset your guest’s expectation clock. It’s better to schedule the time needed in advance. Interviews can easily take 30 to 40 minutes to get quality results.
Introduce your crew. Firstly your crew makes you look good and your shot look great. It’s just good manners and respectful to introduce them. Secondly it helps ease your guest’s anxiety. Your crew are then no longer a group of strangers in the dark.
Re-ask questions the same but different. Every answer isn’t perfect and let your guest know that you will be re-asking questions to get their comments stated another way. Often the first few questions are throwaways as your guest gets past their initial nerves to settle into a more comfortable zone with you.
Be honestly interested in what your guests have to say. Don’t ask the question and zone out. Enjoy the story. Your guest took the time to sit down with you. Show that you appreciate their time by really listening to what they have to say.
In every answer there are new questions. Sometimes there are nuggets in a guest’s answer. These new conversational paths can lead to that golden comment so pay attention and don’t be hesitant to pursue that path as long as it supports your client’s goals.
Don’t judge. Your guest is there to give you an opinion. You aren’t there to give them yours.
Be respectful. You are in a unique position where you may be asking questions that, in other circumstances, may not be appropriate or too personal. Your guest not only will answer but will answer the same question multiple times.
You are there to make your client look good. This is not breaking a major news story or hard hitting journalism. Your client has employed you because of your skills and your approach to make their organization look good. Always keep this top of mind as you bring focus to the interviews.
Walk your guest out. Be gracious and show your guest the way out. Thank them again. It allows you to clear the interview space quickly to keep a schedule if you have multiple interviews to conduct. Plus you can greet your next guest in the waiting area and start the whole process again.