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!