What makes a great interview great?
I drafted this up to help our interviewees and I thought I'd share it here!
When working with our corporate clients, lots of them ask us how they should prepare for an interview on camera. It’s probably the most commonly asked question and there is often understandable nerves. Video production is a craft and if you choose us, we’ll happily guide you through any interview process.
Here are a few tips:
1. The most important thing for any interview is to relax. If you fluff your lines, you can always give it another go, and another go, and another go, so there’s no pressure, relax into it and the rest will follow.
2. How much should you prepare? Well, it’s worth putting a bit of time into what you want to communicate but what audiences really engage with is authenticity. Being overly scripted can be a barrier to viewer engagement.
3. Believe in what you are saying. Examine why you are making the video and find the core thing you believe in and want to communicate. Focus on that and be passionate about that when being interviewed. Let the world see why they should care about your business/service/product.
4. What should you wear? Well, always wear on camera something is rule number one! The second rule comes down to what you really want to communicate and to who you want to communicate. If your audience is business, communicating a clean corporate image is important. If your audience is the general public, being genuine can go a long way. Examine your audience and your business, and wear something you think represents that.
5. Enjoy it! For many people, being interviewed on camera is not a regular occurrence and might even be a once in a lifetime moment and it’s important to treat it like that. So make sure you enjoy it!
Whatever your message, video works!
Rehearse "bullet points", not exact scripted words, which will always come out sounding scripted.
Practice speaking in short, complete ideas, and practice speaking in paragraphs. The practice could be about any subject, like, the steps to make an omelette. Subject is unimportant, learning the *pattern* is; learn the pattern of making an initial premise statement, then filling in more, related details, and summing it up, in a few short, complete sentences, one main idea to a paragraph.
Editors can't work with one-word answers like "yes", "No", and "Raspberry". If the interviewer messes up and asks a question with one-word answers, put the question back into the answer.
My favorite example:
"What's your favorite ice cream flavor?"
Better answer, incorporating the question back into the answer:
"My favorite ice cream flavor is Rocky Road"
A professional answer that really works, because it includes a "why":
"I like a number of ice cream flavors, but my favorite is probably Rocky Road, because it has these different complex textures of the nuts, the fudge, and the ice cream in it. That means your experience of it is a little bit different with each bite you take, and I guess, that bit of the unexpected - that's what makes Rocky Road my favorite."
In simple interviews, the time span covered will be expected to be linear: "First, A occurred, then B happened, then C resulted". That's typical for basic training videos, or for a legal deposition.
But for more esoteric topics, often, the time line jumps around, and you will need to create a context for a statement, before making the statement. Think of it like how a comedian sets up a premise for a joke, before delivering the punchline.
"We thought we understood the process of how we created our hot dogs from beginning to end. We copied the procedures and methods of our classic old factory when we made a new one, but the product came out of the new line with a subtle but consistent difference. It just wasn't exactly the same, not exactly right. A lot of people's jobs and the company's profits were riding on the added production from this plant, but if it didn't make the product right, it would be a huge loss.
That sets up the premise.... now, the punchline:
So we had to look at the process again with fresh eyes, bringing in an outside observer who didn't know anything about hot dog making. They discovered something we were blind to. In an intermediate step of the old plant procedure, the partially-completed hot dogs were manually transported on a cart across the plant, and spent about thirty minutes in a chilled holding area, before going to the next step. That time period under those specific conditions was the missing ingredient in our process. The new plant used a more efficient conveyor, eliminating the hand-delivered cart step. When we recreated those original conditions artificially, in a "pre-cure" room, the end product came out PERFECT. It was that unexpected human element we'd missed."