How do you ask the questions that will make other human beings open up and talk about their lives, their accomplishments, dreams and attitudes towards the world around them? That is the focus of this workshop, which teaches you how to prepare, conduct and edit captivating interviews.
To some, interviewing seems like a pretty simple craft: There's something you'd really like to know about someone, so you ask them about it – and then you relay what they answer. But, of course, there's a lot more to it.
Many interviews turn out bland, uninspired and very similar to a lot of other interviews given by that same person. The key ingredients when it comes to avoiding this are solid preparation and a genuine curiosity and interest in what your subject says – as well as firm editing skills.
This workshop walks you through the entire process that maximizes your chances of producing a memorable interview. Through exercises, you get to try out what you learn along the way, including phrasing the best possible questions and interviewing the other participants.
The process begins as soon as you either landed your interview or an editor assigned it to you. The angling and occasion for the interview set the overall parameters you have to operate within, but you are often a lot less constrained than you might think.
The biggest favor you can do yourself at this stage is to do intensive research on your subject and any topics you want to cover.
Of course, this stage also contains the most important aspect of all of them – phrasing all the questions you want to ask.The workshop contains more than 10 specific tips on how to phrase questions that are likely to generate great answers.
Entering into the active role of interviewer requires a few mental check-ups. Not only should you be highly familiar with the flow and content of the questions you are about to ask – you should also remind yourself which role you are taking on as an interviewer: Are you a headline-hunter, a critic, a friend, a fan, or a psychologist? Being aware of this will determine the outcome of the interview to an extent that is often overlooked.
During the interview itself, you are doing many things at once, and it can be a challenge to keep track of them all. First and foremost, you are present in the conversation, actively listening to your subject.
But you are also aware of which questions have yet to be answered, which one is fitting to ask next – and which ones you might have to phrase on the spot, because the conversation took an interesting, yet unexpected turn.
Once the actual interviewing is over, you still have plenty of work to do. The goal of the editing process is essentially to compose the interview by taking the best and most insightful sections from your raw transcription, tightening them up, and then placing them in a meaningful order. Sometimes that is simply the order in which things were actually being said, but sometimes it's definitely not.
Adding a both catchy and appropriate headline is a craft unto itself. You also have to write an introduction that will let your readers make it through the entire interview without being confused about the topics covered and incidents that are being referenced.
And even after all this is done, you still have to go through the whole thing and make sure that it's all coming together as well as it possibly can.
While this workshop is mainly targeted at journalists, it will serve to inspire everyone who wishes to improve their interviewing skills. This includes various professional contexts, such as hiring employees or conducting annual reviews. It could even be in private contexts, if you are struggling with what to ask people beyond "did you have a good time?" when they return from a vacation.
- The full workshop is 7 hours (including lunch hour and breaks).
- A half-day workshop (3 hours) with a prioritized focus on one of the three aspects (preparing, conducting and editing) is possible, too.
- A 1.5-2 hour presentation format without exercises and activities is also an option.
Participants: 10-30 for the workshop format. No limit for the presentation format.
Interactive elements: Participants will be engaged in activities and exercises throughout the workshop.