Ten tips for conducting successful interviews

Because I frequently interview guests on my podcast, I was recently asked to share some interview tips with a group of writers.

So today, I thought I’d share with you what I shared with them.

While interviewing doesn’t have to be a stressful thing, it should be something you prepare for and approach with thought if you want it to go smoothly…

Here are ten tips to think about when interviewing someone:

1. Be yourself. That’s what makes you interesting, and it will make the interview more interesting. Don’t be staged; just be you.

2. Set the person you are interviewing at ease. Put aside a few minutes before the interview for small talk and let them know the framework for the interview (casual? short? give talking points, etc.) The more comfortable they are, the better the interview will flow.

3. Research the person you are interviewing ahead of time so you can ask relevant, meaningful questions.

4. Don’t think so much about being the “interviewer.” Simply have a conversation. Instead of a formal Q&A, let the conversation flow naturally.

5. Think of questions before the interview and have several to choose from. You may not get to all of them, and that’s okay. But planning ahead will give you the freedom to switch gears if needed, rather than thinking on the spot for something interesting to ask.

6. Even though it’s good to plan ahead, don’t be overly concerned about sticking to the plan. Going off course can be the most interesting part of your conversation. Listen for the little nuggets hidden in their answers to your questions. They can often lead to unexpected, more interesting questions and answer.

7. Find ways to draw out people’s experiences and stories. (There is such power in story!)

8. Pause long enough to allow the person you are interviewing time to talk. Don’t rush from question to question.

9. Keep within the timeframe you planned. It shows respect and professionalism.

10. If you have a choice, record the interview instead of taking notes. Writing or typing while you are interviewing someone can be distracting.

And speaking of interviews, I’ll be interviewed on Good Day Sacramento tomorrow morning, talking about my podcast! I’ll post the clip as soon as I get it. Fun!