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Interview Technique

You want to get the best from your interviewee, help them relax and enjoy the experience because that’s how you will get the best answers and help them come across well. The best videos get to the heart of the matter, the personal stuff. You want it to be meaningful. There’s an art to interviewing well. Here are some tips.

Give a little of yourself. I’ve discovered that people will relax and open up if you are relaxed and open too. I’m chatty from the time we enter the room where we’re doing the interview. I chat and ask questions as I’m setting up the camera, mics and lights. It distracts the interviewee from the intensity of the situation and helps them warm to you. It doesn’t have to be on topic – small talk about the weather and travelling here is very non-threatening, and a good way to start. When we sit down and start the main questions, we’re already chatting and it’s a seamless transition. They may not even notice the interview has begun. Great!

Respond. The interviewee needs to know you’re listening to them. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to rush on to the next question. Feel free to comment briefly on what they’ve said. They’re more likely to open up if they feel listened to. I avoid looking down at the questions so that the interview flows like a normal conversation.

Body language is important. Sit with your legs and arms uncrossed. This shows that you’re listening, open and relaxed. They will then do the same. The likelihood is that they will automatically copy your posture and if they are relaxed then viewers watching the video will also feel relaxed. It’s all psychology! The same goes for smiling. Nod and smile and they will smile back. Remember not to make any noise though so that the video can be edited cleanly.

Don’t be afraid to ask the same question a different way. You need to have in your mind the main points that you need to get across in the video. So make sure they’re covered clearly and succinctly. You can tell the interviewee that it’s OK if they repeat themselves and that the best bits will be chosen in the edit.

Make sure the interviewee answers in complete sentences so your own voice can be chopped out  of the video. It’s a good idea to explain this before you start.

Be encouraging and show appreciation but don’t over-do it. Be genuine and enjoy it. 

Look out for my next article on when an interview gets really interesting!

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Talking Head Videos – Pros and Cons

There are dozens of different ways to present your business on video. An interview with a person is a massively popular choice. But are we getting bored of the classing “talking head”?

Well, there are some solid reasons why they work.

  1. It’s personal. Business is about people – meeting a need – a transaction between people. We choose who we work with and we need to know they are human. So much is conveyed through that personal presence – the tone, ethos, vision, care, professionalism and so on.
  1. Research shows that we tune in to a face much more easily than to graphics or other images. There’s something about a human face that actually draws our attention. What’s more, when looking at another human being, we automatically copy their facial expressions. Smile on camera and your audience will instinctively smile back. This then creates the feelings in them. You are influencing how they feel. And it’s the feelings that will generate a response. You’ve created connection.
  1. Explanations. Sometimes your product or service needs an explanation. You’re company’s unique and so are you, right? So an explanation of what you offer is the best way to communicate what other companies don’t.
  1. Story. Beautiful shots of your product or premises will go so far but the story behind why you created them will add so much more and give your audience extra reasons to engage in the experience you’re offering. I t creates a deeper empathy and connects on a deeper level.
  1. An interview is straight forward compared to other filming and it can be pulled together relatively quickly. Therefore the production costs are lower.

The Cons

  1. Talking heads can be same-y. We’re a bit too familiar with them and everyone’s doing them. This is particularly obvious if an interview is done badly. Too long lingering on one static shot; explanations far too waffly and all about the person speaking. The way to deal with this is to mix it up. B-roll footage, stills and captions help keep the video moving. Or cut between speakers. Speakers need to remember what they are aiming to do – create connection and engage the audience. Keep it relevant. Empathise with them and offer help.
  1. They can be too long. Online videos are mostly watched on smart phones or tables while people are on the go. They will switch off if it goes on. I always thing that less is more. Mae your point and leave it at that.
  1. Show don’t tell. We’re more likely to believe you have good customer service if we see that in action rather than being told. True. Additional footage offers a lot her. Mix it up and use it well.

So there are pros and cons. All things considered, talking heads still have a lot to offer and nothing really beats a personal interview. But it’s essential to do it well. Happy filming! And watch out for my next article on what questions to ask in an Interview.

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