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2 min read

How to conduct effective video interviews


How to  conduct effective video interviews.png

Do you know the secret to conducting a good video interview? Whether you are gathering video testimonials for your website or developing an informational video series for an outreach campaign, conducting your first video interview is about preparation and understanding human communication.

Preparing for the interview shoot

For a shorter 1-3 minute video, I like to come up with a solid ten questions that I feel will help the person being interviewed tell their story. Any questions would be directed by your creative brief. The question and their answers will drive the conversation.

Sure you can throw a couple of softballs in but really your questions should lead to the answers you’ll be able to use. Since you’ll probably we using the end product for education, outreach and/or marketing you’ll want an idea of what you are going for.

Consider including a few general questions that allow the interview to really think and consider what they are going to say. I’ll often go through my list of interview questions twice if there us time. I’ll often get more usable answers and video the second time around., because the answer becomes more focused in the and are able to efficiently articulate their thoughts.

You may not ask all of them and as you conversation continues its natural to think of new ones. These can be considered a jumping off point.

Be a good interview partner

The big secret to interviewing is listening. Active listening. A bad listener only allows for a preconceived story not the actual one. I like to listen to the language of the other person, looking for the heart of who they are and what they are saying.

When they have said something that you know will work well in the video but might have been flubbed a little, know that it’s ok to ask them to say it again or elaborate on it. Make sure you are a good partner. Be engaged, sit up straight and make eye contact. Help the other person to understand you are interested in what they are saying. This will help them feel safe to share their thoughts.

Keep it simple

During the interview you are there to listen, ask questions, and more importantly, you are there get usable content. If you feel the conversation is going into the weeds, direct it where you want to go by referring back to a previous question.

Connect your content

If the outreach project or campaign you are working on involves a series of interviews, try to separate the story of each video while still staying true to your project objectives. Plan each interview for the person and the message or subject matter you are covering. You can ask similar questions but really it is important to customize each video interview to the person you are speaking with.

Be human

It is important to remember that the viewer and the interviewee are real people. Are you building an emotional connection and offering information aimed at your audience? Think of this as you move forward. I like to do a pre-interview prior to the shoot day. It is vital for everyone to be comfortable during the conversation and it is vital that your interviewee understands what will be covered during your chat.

Lightening Round: Tips for conducting the interview

  • Preparation is the key
  • Keep it real
  • Keep it short
  • Let them talk 
  • Listen
  • Be interested
  • Be specific and relevant
  • Be focused and stay out of the weeds or tangents
  • It is ok to stop down for a moment to take a breath
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