Conducting an effective and successful interview is the cornerstone of any good content creation. Whether you are creating a brand video, podcast, or blog article, having great questions to ask your interviewee can make all the difference in producing engaging and informative content.
With some careful planning and preparation ahead of time, you can ensure that your interviews are successful. This includes researching the topic beforehand so that you have an understanding of what type of questions to ask, knowing how to phrase those questions to get meaningful responses, and being mindful during the conversation so as not to miss out on important details.
By following these guidelines, it will be easier for you to conduct a great interview that yield great results every time.
Thoroughly research the person or subject you are interviewing to understand their background, perspectives, and motivations.
One of the most important steps in successfully conducting an interview is to make sure you have done sufficient research about the person or subject beforehand. Understanding a person’s background, perspectives, and motivations will help you effectively prepare questions that are tailored to elicit rich information from your interviewee. To do this, it is best to use a variety of sources. Depending on the topic, these sources may include books, news articles, expert opinions, interviews with other people familiar with the subject at hand, archives, photos or videos related to your topic, and digital content like blogs or podcasts. Additionally, conducting interviews with the subject can provide valuable insight into their experiences and perspectives. When you are sufficiently informed about who or what you are interviewing it will make for a more engaging experience that allows both parties to be better informed afterwards.
Prepare open-ended questions
Write a list of open-ended questions that encourage dialogue and help you gather information.
One of the best ways to gain valuable insight is to ask open-ended questions. These are also known as "what" and "how" questions. Ask your questions thoughtfully, such as "What challenges did you encounter?" and "How did you come up with that solution?" This not only helps clarify any potential misunderstandings but also encourages dialogue and allows the person being asked questions to provide more robust responses. When asking questions, it is important to be an active listener and demonstrate empathy while ensuring that the conversation remains focused on the topic at hand. Doing this will help ensure you have all of the information needed to make informed decisions.
"What" questions are typically open-ended and ask the person being questioned to provide more detail about a specific topic. Examples of "what" questions include:
What do you mean by that?
What inspired this solution?
What challenges did you encounter?
"How" questions are also open-ended but have a slightly different purpose than "what." These questions focus on understanding how something was created, achieved, or solved. Examples of "how" questions include:
How did you come up with that solution?
How can we apply what we learned here to similar situations in the future?
How has this changed your approach to problem-solving?
Pay close attention to the interviewee's responses and follow up with clarifying questions when necessary. Active listening is an important skill for a journalist to master, as it allows you to fully understand the interviewee's perspectives and gather accurate information.
To perform active listening, you can do the following:
Pay attention: Focus your full attention on the interviewee and avoid distractions.
Show interest: Nod, smile, and make eye contact to demonstrate that you are interested in what they are saying.
Paraphrase: Repeat back what you've heard to clarify your understanding and ensure accuracy.
Ask clarifying questions: Ask clarifying questions to dig deeper and gather more information.
Avoid interruptions: Allow the interviewee to fully express their thoughts before jumping in with your own questions or comments. Pause at the end of an answer to allow space for the interviewee to finish.
Empathize: Try to put yourself in the interviewee's shoes and understand their perspectives and emotions.
By actively listening, you can build trust with the interviewee, gather more in-depth information, and provide a more nuanced and complete picture of the story you are covering.
Create a rapport
Establish a rapport with the interviewee by showing genuine interest in their story and respecting their opinions.
Be prepared to adjust your line of questioning based on the flow of the conversation, but also stick to your critical questions if necessary.
Jot down important points and quotes during the interview for later reference and accuracy.
Verify facts and quotes with the interviewee before publishing or airing the interview.
Respect boundaries: Respect the interviewee's privacy and boundaries, and avoid asking intrusive or inappropriate questions.
End on a positive note
Thank the interviewee for their time, and show appreciation for their input. If applicable, offer to stay in touch or get back in contact if you have any follow-up questions.
If you're an individual or a company looking to make the most of your media appearances, proper media training is essential. Whether it's for a television interview, radio appearance, podcast or any other type of press engagement, having the right skills and knowledge can help ensure that you come across as professional and confident in front of the camera.
Media training teaches participants how to handle difficult questions from journalists as well as how to craft concise messages and stories that will be compelling enough for news outlets to cover. It also provides tips on body language and non-verbal communication techniques so that guests look their best when they’re being interviewed by reporters. With proper media training, individuals will feel much more prepared for their next public appearance – no matter which side of the camera they are on!
Help the interviewee develop clear and concise messages that align with their goals and objectives.
Prepare the interviewee for the types of questions they may be asked and provide strategies for answering them effectively.
Discuss the importance of nonverbal communication and provide tips for projecting confidence and professionalism.
Tone and delivery
Coach the interviewee on how to control their tone and delivery to convey their messages effectively.
Provide advice on how to handle unexpected or difficult questions, and how to handle media interviews in high-pressure situations.
Discuss the importance of media ethics and provide guidance on how to handle sensitive or controversial topics.
As a host or interviewer, if you provide media training, you can help the interviewee feel more confident and prepared for their media interviews, which can lead to more effective and impactful communication.
For more information on conducting a great interview, get in touch with me. I'm here to answer any questions you have about content marketing and creative production.