It’s true that sometimes interview subjects are the boring ones (have you seen January Jones’s appearance on The Tonight Show?), but it’s equally true that it’s always on the interviewer to keep the interview interesting.
In a way, interviews are like vlogs – you can’t rely on the situation to become interesting, you have to make things happen by doing the following:
1) Connect with the subject
Easier said than done, of course. Interviewees already did their part when they agreed to answer the phone or appear on camera. After that hurdle has been cleared, it’s the interviewer’s responsibility to make them feel comfortable enough to open up. How? By remembering that you’re a human being talking to another human being. This isn’t 60 minutes, and you aren’t Barbara Walters.
2) Don’t ask leading questions
Asking leading questions during an interview is a big journalistic red card. The same goes for interview videos. Leading questions reek of artificiality, and most people can sense them coming a mile away. Just because you’re interviewing coworkers, clients, or creatives doesn’t mean it’s okay to rope them into specific answers. They won’t appreciate it.
3) Ask the questions your viewers want answers to
Don’t forget about the viewers. The questions you ask during an interview should be simple, clear, and transparent. “What would my viewers want to know?” should be the foremost question on the interviewer’s mind. That being said, indulging your own curiosity can often make an interview feel more natural and take it to unexpected and fruitful places.
4) Let the subject do the talking
This goes without saying, really. Your job as an interviewer is to ask the right, stimulating questions. Then you need to keep quiet.
5) Edit out the boring stuff
Finally, learn to live with less. A great interview is rarely wrapped up in under 10 minutes, but an interview video should only include the highlights. Give yourself 60 seconds to work with, and work your magic. This is also why you shouldn’t ask any leading questions. You always want the interview to look and feel as natural as possible. Not to mention you can always edit out the parts you don’t like in post-production.