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How to Conduct an Interview

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Published on Feb 18, 2013

"The interview is the spine of your story," said Drew Keller, video producer for StoryGuide. "It is the part of your story that's going to give it emotion, and focus, and it's how your audience is going to engage in your story."
Keller and I talked about good techniques for interviewing at Ragan's 6th Annual Social Media for PR and Corporate Communications Conference at the Walt Disney World Resort, although in the video below we purposely began the interview with how you shouldn't conduct an interview.

Here's a summary of Drew Keller's tips on conducting a better interview:
1. Be prepared and know what you want accomplish.
2. Think of yourself as a shrink. Read body language as to where they're excited. You need to respond and get the information need.
3. Don't rely on your interview questions. You should be engaged in a conversation the whole time. You don't want the interviewee looking at the top of your head. Make it clear that you're listening with both your ears and eyes.
4. When you're researching an interviewee, ask yourself if they know they're stuff, if they're passionate on the subject, if they have a good story to tell, are they representing the angle of the story you want to tell?
5. Don't do the interview before you hit the record button. Often during the warm up phase you'll actually want to talk about the subject at hand. Don't. People love to see ideation, which is the moment the interviewee sees the answer in their head and responds.
6. Make sure your questions are not "yes or no" questions.
7. Make sure questions are observational, such as "How did you feel about this?" You want the interviewee's interpretation.
8. Everyone comes to an interview with an agenda, so make sure you squeeze in the question, "If you were conducting this interview, what question would you be sure to ask?"

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