One of the things that makes BlogTalkRadio special is that it’s live. Of course, this can also make a new host or inexperienced interviewee a little nervous.
With that in mind, here are a few tips for hosts conducting BlogTalkRadio interviews. They’re borrowed from the Web site of Radio Diaries, which produces wonderful audio content for NPR’s “All Things Considered”:
1. Don’t be afraid of pauses and silences
When conducting an interview, resist the temptation to jump in. Let the person think. Often the best comments come after a short, uncomfortable silence when the person you are interviewing feels the need to fill the void and add something better.
2. Let people talk in full sentences
Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead of, “Are you a doctor?” ask, “Tell me how you became a doctor.” Remember that you want people to tell you stories.
3. Listening is the key
A good interview is like a conversation. Prepare questions, but don’t just follow a list. The most important thing is to listen and have your questions come naturally. If your questions are rehearsed and hollow, the answers will be too. If you are curious and your questions are spontaneous and honest, you will get a good interview.
4. Interviewing is a two-way street
Conducting a good interview depends, in part, on asking the right questions. But it is also important to establish a relationship with the person you are interviewing. Sometimes it is appropriate to share some information about yourself in an interview. Remember that it’s a conversation. What’s more, for it to be an honest conversation, people must feel that you care about what they say, and will honor and respect their words and stories.
5. The foolproof question
Here is one simple question that always works: “How do you see things differently since (blank) happened?” If you’re talking to your mailman about the time he was chased for two blocks by a neighborhood dog, ask how he feels every time he goes by that house.
6. Relax and forget you’re being recorded
One thing that’s always amazing: in the beginning of an interview, people are usually stiff and self-conscious, but after a while, they forget all about the tape recorder and start to be themselves.
7. The last secret to a great interview
There is one simple rule for getting people to talk openly and honestly: you have to be genuinely curious about the world around you.