‘Don’t bring your list of questions to an interview; bring your humanity.’
In other words, the interview approach should be more conversation, less examination. Taking the latter approach ultimately strips out the humanity of the discussion, leaving you with an end product that reflects as much.
I like this quote, which comes from film studio Still Motion during their ‘Storytelling with Heart’ workshop, which I recently attended. It hit home with our interview style at Fuse, which focuses on having a natural conversation instead of moving systematically through a list of questions.
I recently came off of a three-day video shoot where I had a chance to sit down with more than 20 individuals, each with a unique story to tell. Some were very eager to engage; others a bit more reserved. But I can say with confidence that by the end of each of these discussions, we arrived at our goal: tell a remarkable story—their story. And I credit much of this to the fact we simply had real conversations—sans notes and questions.
Here are a few more tips for getting a great interview:
It’s their story: Let them tell you the story in their words; rather than trying to send them in a direction that feels scripted.
Take the time to react: When someone tells you a certain action or event changed their life, find out why. The interviewee just opened a door—walk in, rather than slamming it shut with your “next question”.
Guide your interview to your destination: Just because you are going off “script” does not mean you cannot arrive at the answers you seek. It simple means we allow the conversation get their organically—and when it does the answers will be much more sincere.
Storytelling is a difficult process. Anyone who tells you different simply isn’t putting in the effort. Storytelling takes heart and soul. A storyteller conjures up true passion for the narrative and works hard to find out about the “characters”.
Putting these tips into practice leads to authenticity of the interview. And suddenly you’ve captured something unique.