Speakers aren’t expected to know everything, but they can still deliver valuable information to their audience by finding and interviewing other experts. Evoking interesting and substantive responses to your questions is the key to an interview that keeps your audience attentive and makes them want to listen to your next interview!
After 30 years of interviewing recording artists and entertainers, I’ve found a few ways to get most of them to open up. First, ‘Do Your Research.’ Search press kits and the internet to find nuggets that your guest isn’t often asked about – not only will they respect you for the research, but your unique question is likely to make them more spontaneous and reflective.
Everyone knows Gene Simmons of KISS, and he gives tons of interviews. I searched out some more personal questions regarding his patriotism. Gene immigrated from Israel as a small boy, before he learned English. He became very passionate about what America has provided him – and he provided a moving and interesting look that other interviews missed.
What is your guest passionate about? After setting the stage with questions on the purpose of the interview, try jumping to a topic that gets them both excited and relaxed. When you’re fielding questions, you should also research your interviewer. A good interview won’t just re-cap your speaking niche, but will give you the space to talk about your passions. If they aren’t as enlightened as you, you may have to steer the interview to a more effective and entertaining place, such as wondering aloud if your host would like to hear about an experience that taught you a powerful lesson.
When interviewing a guest on your podcast or broadcast:
1. Research your guest’s passions outside of the normal; how, why, when.
2. Keep it positive – and don’t ask questions that could put them ‘on the spot’ like “How did your surgery go?”
3. Always ask your guest prior to recording, “Is there anything you don’t want to discuss today?”
4. Start with normal, expected questions on the topic and then ease into personal passion stories.
When you’re the one being interviewed:
1. Research your host so you have common ground should they be nervous or becoming boring.
2. Have several personal stories listeners can relate to that explain you, your passion and your product.
3. Practice and pause silently! ‘Umm’ and ‘ah’ sound even worse when played back on a recording.
4. Relax and smile! People can hear your enthusiasm and breathing, so collect yourself and remember to have fun!
An interview combines some of the best elements of public speaking and conversation. You’ll be a successful interviewer by using elements that make an effective platform speaker, including a strong introduction, covering two-to-four major points, repeating and clarifying key information as needed, and providing a good summary to wrap up the interview.
Sam Newton is a professional broadcaster, voice artist, sales leader, and public speaker. He’s the content director and a radio personality for one of the nation’s largest media companies. He sold $4.5 million in luxury vehicles in only three years in the automotive industry and acted on the ‘Bedtime Barney’ syndicated radio show. Sam holds workshops on how to use all forms of media and developing your personal story.