Emmy Award Winning Journalist Richard Hart Shares what not to do in an Interview

Richard Hart is an Emmy award winning journalist. He currently teaches at Academy of Art and holds a spot on NASA’s final list for potential first journalists in space (as we found out in our Banter).

In a recent Banter [available at the bottom of this article] Richard Hart gave some pet peeves he has with interviews he sees and hears. These are great points to think about as you prepare your interviews. Below are some of the tips he gives for a good interview.

01: It’s Not a List of Questions

Respond to everything your subject says.

Oprah Winfrey was the best. She once interviewed Kenny Chesney on her show and never asked a question! It was just a conversation. And that’s what you should do: conduct a conversation, not an interview. (Unlike Terry Gross.)

02: It’s Not About You

It’s about the audience. You are their surrogate.

The goal is not to impress the audience with how smart you are. It’s to say the things that they can’t. Don’t assume, “Well, everybody knows that.” Be a mind reader. Read the mind of your audience. If you think they need an explanation of a term or ID of a person, stop and get that explanation.

03: The Unanswered Question

How many times have you heard an interview subject dodge a question? Shift the topic? Get away with it? It is not rude to say, “Hey, that’s all very nice, but you didn’t answer the question.” Late night talk show hosts generally are too “nice” to do this.

04: Running Out of Time

Know how you’re going to end it all.

The lazy man’s way to end an interview is to say, “Well, thanks very much, but we have run out of time.” Prepare a close. Know when to jump in and use it. I’m done.

Matty Staudt is currently consulting for Banter, Inc. Try recording an interview on Banter.

This is the fourth post in a series of posts and videos that will hopefully help you get and do better interviews. The subjects that we will be covering are:

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