While conducting an interview:
• Don't kid yourself into thinking that sharing your personal secrets will entice them to share theirs. It won't. It only makes them think you're wasting their time. Nobody cares about you. Even famous interviewers like Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters succeed in ferreting out private insights without tipping their own hand or heart.
• Don't do all the talking. Again, it's not about you. You're not there to impress anyone. And don't clear your
throat—just ask your question.
• Don't preface questions with "I'm wondering if .....or "I'd like to ask you this .....or "Here's a question ......
Also, don't offer your opinion as an opening statement. Get to the point. Pretend it's a 140-character tweet. • Don't interrupt. Your voice will ruin the subject's audio track.
• Do heed the power of silence. If your subject answers a question tersely, incompletely, or unsatisfactorily,
just sit quietly and look at the person instead of moving on to the next question. The silence may seem uncomfortable, but before long, he or she is likely to jump in and fill it. Your silence also conditions subjects to avoid simplistic or pat answers, and it shows them that you expect them to work a lithe harder and think things through. Psychotherapists use this moment of silence technique on their "subjects" all the time. You can do it too.
• Do listen! Listen! Listen! And show that you're listening (and not just getting ready to pounce on the next
question on your list). Otherwise, you might miss the revelation of a key piece of information that begs further exploration.
• Do use body language to change the interview's direction. If you're getting an unusable long-winded
answer, use body language (e.g., raising an index finger) to subtly but silently interrupt, and then say, "I understand, but ......And then pose your next question.
• Do resist the urge to say "mmm-hmm" or "yeah" or emit other reflexive responses that are likely to intrude into the final audio. Instead, nod in acknowledgement, or use approving facial expressions (smile, raise eyebrows, and so on).
• Do guide the interview by using your list of topics and questions, but be open to possibilities. If you're
listening carefully, you'll find plenty of opportunities for unanticipated follow-up questions that take you down unexpected yet fruifful paths.
• Do repeat the question if you don't get a satisfactory answer to a question; don't be afraid to rephrase it
and try again.