Media Training Worldwide

How to Conduct Interviews

When it comes to conducting interviews, I always recommend interviewing people on video because of the simplicity. You can even capture a high-definition video simply using your cell phone. Moreover, video interviews can be helpful if the situation arises that an interviewee disputes over what you said.

Another benefit of video interviews is that you can convert them to any format. You can transcribe it into a text article or pull out just audio and turn the interview into an audio podcast or use it for radio. In addition to this, you can upload videos on YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video platform.

In this article, I’ll walk you through how to conduct video interviews for TV or any other platform.

Who is Qualified to Interview People?

Gone are the days when only credible journalists from a newspaper or a TV channel could interview people. In this age of social media, anyone can act as a journalist and interview people to find a new information and present it to the world either through their YouTube channel, blog, social media, etc.

You don’t need to have a master’s degree or work as a full-time journalist to interview someone. You just need to have an interest in a specific field, have some relevant content, and an audience who is interested in that content. For example, if you have a legal blog, you could interview some famous experts in the field and share the information with your audience.

Let the Interviewee Know of the Subject Matter

When you want to interview someone, the first thing you should do is contact them and tell them what the topic is, who you are, why you’d like to interview them, and what you want the focus of the interview to be. Remember that you don’t have to give them the question in advance but just let them know about the subject matter.

In addition to this, try to set up a time where it’s mutually advantageous for both of you to meet. If you are going to interview someone who is a famous expert in the industry, they’re unlikely to be available for you for more than half an hour. So, make sure to give them a rough idea of how long the interview may take.

Your pitching style also matters when trying to book an interview slot with someone. For instance, if you want to interview an anthropology author, you may ask them:

Hey, I want to interview you for my anthropology blog. I want to talk about your book and tell my viewers about you, your book.” They’re probably going to say yes to this.

But if you say: “Hey, I’ve read your book and I admire you. Can I hang out and chat with you?” They might be too busy for that.

Research the Guest

If you are going to interview an expert, a politician, an author, or someone who has real expertise, I would advise you to do some research about them. Google them. Find out why they are famous and what their ideas are. If they have a blog or a website, check that out. Find them in the news section of Google to see what they’ve said recently that’s been in the news.

This way, you can add to the conversation. You can add to what people already know by asking more insightful questions.

Looking Good on Video

You don’t want to look like an amateur when doing a video interview. Someone who is stiff, frozen, looks scared or has blank facial expressions. You don’t want your guest and people who are watching you perceive you as nervous or uncomfortable. You want them to feel that you’re just having a good, interesting conversation.

Below are a few tips you can follow to look more confident and comfortable when doing video interviews:

  • Put a little bit of a smile on your face when you’re listening to someone talk. A blank look on TV or video will make you look scared, nervous, uncomfortable, and unprofessional.
  • Learn to move. Your head, body, and hands should move. I don’t mean going wild and crazy, but just continue to move a little bit. That’s because when people are relaxed and comfortable, they move.
  • If you’re sitting down, hold yourself up high and lean forward about 15 degrees into the camera, with both feet flat on the floor. That’s because If you’re sitting back relaxed, it will make you look fat and dumpy, and a double chin look will show up.

Asking the Questions

When you’re interviewing someone in the real world, you don’t want to ask the obvious questions you already know the answers to. You should ask real questions where you don’t know the answers but the person you’re interviewing does.

You should ask open-ended questions so the person you’re interviewing can expand on them and cast light on a particular subject. It’s also nice to add a few yes/no or one-word possible response questions. Questioning from the viewpoint of the audience is another style you can opt for. Lary King says that he never read the books of any author on his show because he wanted to ask questions from the audiences’ point of view.

Moreover, make sure that your questions are straightforward and short. Asking long questions can distract both interviewee and audience.

Getting Better at Interviewing- Post on YouTube

There are two big secrets to getting better and better at interviewing. The first one is to simply do a lot of interviews and the second is to get as much feedback as possible.

The more interviews you do, the better you will get at it. My recommendation is that you do interviews as often as possible and put them on your own YouTube channel or Vimeo to get feedback. Meaningful feedback will help you improve and do better next time.

I hope you’ve learned a few practical insights from this article. Practice them to develop skills and get better at interviewing. Practice on video, review it, critique it until you’re happy with it. I want to wish you luck with all of your interviews in the future, and please post links to your interviews in the comments below.

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