At a company where an executive needed/wanted to get a message out. Because of the circumstances and the hesitation of the presenter to make it “his” show or just read a message, it was decided to make it an interview, and I found myself in the position of interviewer largely because I am not afraid to face a camera/audience, have hosted programs before, and was a familiar face but not a “player”. But I’d not done a one-on-one interview on camera and I had not previously met the interviewee and had no established rapport.Consulting a TV friend of mine, the advice was to find what makes the interviewee tick — get him talking about the passion that drives the show. And that turned out to not only be good advice, but easy to do. We opened according to the script and the expected answer to question #1, but rather than stick to the script, I changed the questions — not much in terms of content but in tone — to build off previous questions and use the responses given to seed the next questions. This gave the interview the appearance of being more off-the-cuff than it really was, took the interviewee by just enough suprise to make his responses more candid, and really aided in the flow of the show. I added just enough back story and personal banter to get keep the messenger moving, and then I just sat back and listened.The only real skill I provided was the ability to not read the script (which does take some practice) and stay out of the way. This is something I attempt to do often in training classes — working as much as possible with known details of attendees or examples/discussions that come up during class. People feel included, the material (which you had intended to cover all along) seems almost impromptu, and the presenter/facilitator actually doesn’t have to do as much (my real motivation — laziness–is exposed!). As long as I didn’t stump the exec, fall out of the chair, or stumble on any words, my work was done. I just had to somehow steer things back to the close, just like a training class must exit dicussion and move on at some point.Going in I thought that an on-camera interview would be a lot different than leading a training class. Coming out, I think that it’s really not different at all. Responses have been positive. Several have said I “asked the tough questions”, and “really brought out the details”, when a careful review of the tape will reveal I did no such thing. I merely facilitated a message by asking questions in a conversational tone that got the juices flowing in the person who really had the message.
Build off the energy and context of interaction whenever possible.