CHAPTER TWO – LEARNING HOW TO INTERVIEW
I had been in sales most of my life so that gave me a good basis to learn how to conduct a good interview.
Just asking questions, right?
It certainly helps but there is more to an interview than just being curious.
Why would you want to do interviews?
PROMOTION OF YOURSELF AND YOUR BOOK OR PRODUCT.
YOU WILL BECOME KNOWN.
BEING KNOWN GIVES YOU AUTHORITY.
(People listen to you when you are an authority)
My coach gave me an assignment. I had to watch Larry King every night. He could be very pointed and get provocative answers while still remaining kind. A real talent.
After 50 years in the business, he was the model of models on how to do an interview which grabs the viewers’ interest from the first seconds of his broadcast to the end.
This is what I learned. This is what you have to learn to come across as a real professional.
First, a quote from Larry –
My guest counts. My guest is more important than me. I don’t use the word “I.” I ask short questions. I listen to the answers.
Interview with Larry King from The Talk – Chicago Tribune
1. This is probably the most important point that Larry made. Your guest is the star of the show. Not you. Do not give your opinion on anything. Do not tell stories about your experiences. Nobody cares.
2. Research. Research. Research. Pretend your guest has asked for a big loan. Check out everything about them. You never know when you need to make a turn in the conversation.
Make a list of all possible questions. Give your guest the list and have them add to yours. Give them the probable first question before you start so they can prepare an answer
3. Short intro. No more than two minutes.
Otherwise you will lose your listener.
I always liked to start with a question. Like “Are you wondering what to do about —-? (whatever) We have help for you today. ” You want to engage your listener right away.
Then, a few credentials. Do not mention why you asked them to be on your show. That’s about you. This interview is about them. Thank them warmly for coming on.
4. Listen. I know you have YOUR LIST. But if your guest says something provocative, stop and ask about it.
I swear I have heard some interviewers who if their guest said, “I just drowned my cat,” instead of saying, “WHAT???” would go on to their next question.
This is a conversation, not an interrogation.
5. Assume your audience knows nothing. So start with the basics.
I once had an author on my TV show who was a Buddhist nun. She was surprised when I told her my first question was “Who was Buddha?” She said everyone knew. They don’t.
6. Ask a question once. Don’t add a tail on it like, “In your book you refer to —-Can you explain it? I mean that is quite a statement. Where did you get that idea?”
Let the first question hang out there. Your guest got the question the first time.
One of my favorite questions Larry King asked is just
My second favorite for guests who are scared and are afraid to talk -
7. Don’t interrupt. Unless your guest is hijacking your show with self-promotion. Then interrupt and bring them back to explore an earlier point in the interview. Tell them in advance you will promote them. They don’t have to do it.
8. No personal questions. Unless you clear it with your guest first.
9. Avoid technical terms. See #5.
10. At the end of the interview, be sure to thank your guest for taking the time to come on your show.
11. Recap their bio briefly at the close – “We have been talking to -etc.
12. Don’t promote yourself until the very end. You are entitled to a short promo but make it real and appropriate and short. Maybe just your web site.
Or one of your books -
13. Thanks for listening to me today. I’m Corinne Edwards and I am the author of ———– and a media coach..
And special thanks to you, Larry. You were always my best teacher.
I miss seeing you every day.
CAN YOU DO A GREAT INTERVIEW?
Sure you can.
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