General conventions teach us that preparation is the key to success. If you have a plan, and a backup plan in case the plan fails, and a backup to the backup in case that one fails, then there’s nothing to keep you from succeeding. In the case of video interviews, I have seen many people new to interviews try to go by this concept when their turn comes to be interviewed; they have an answer to everything, heavily rehearsed and down to every word.
And the end result? Interviews that aren’t so great. Terrible at worst, lackluster at best. What we end up getting on camera tends
to look like cardboard boxes with robot voices somehow taking information that should be interesting and turning them dull and lifeless. All because they felt the need to stick to their script.
When it comes to interviewing people on camera, I am a firm believer in having discussions, not interrogations. Sure, the whole point of an interview is all about getting information from a source, but how effective is it really to hammer someone with carefully composed questions that look great on paper, and to respond to such questions with carefully crafted responses? If I wanted careful prose in my interviews, then I would be reading a novel or magazine.
So how can we loosen up an interview? Here’s a 3 simple steps that can help you:
- Don’t rely on a script detailing everything that you’re going to say. Instead, jot down your ideas and concepts.
- When making your interview notes or questions, stay away from jotting down full-blown questions and instead jot down your curiosity on certain concepts. Similarly, as an interviewee, note your answers in small phrases and buzz words. Doing this frees you both mentally from structured sentences and allows you to talk more organically and naturally.
- Just relax! Interviews are all about talking; engaging in two-sided discussions. And the thing about those kinds of discussions are that they develop organically-the interviewee might answer a certain way, and the interviewer might interrupt a little, maybe add a little rebuttal. The interviewee may chime back with another point. Etc, etc. It should be a lively and passionate Such discussions are what makes great, camera-worthy interviews, and an audience is more likely to place confidence in a relaxed, enthusiastic, and passionate expert than one that reads from cue cards.
Remember, focus on main ideas and concepts, answer in small phrases and don’t forget to relax! At the end of the day, the cameras and lights shouldn’t feel like they’re there. The best interviews look and feel like two people just talking.