How to interview someone

How to be a successful interviewer

Once you have decided what you want to make a programme about there are three stages to the interview:

  1. Finding the best person/people to answer your questions
  2. Preparing for the interview
  3. Conducting the interview


Research is often needed to find the best people to be interviewed. Facebook, LinkedIn, known contacts and general research will often lead to the right people.

Having found them you sometimes need to jolly them along and encourage them to take part in your programme. Some people need coaxing. But bottom line, no one is obliged to answer your questions or take part in your programme (it’s their choice).

Prepare for the interview

Having done your research, write down a list of say 10 key questions. You may not get to ask them all, as one answer may lead you down another line of questioning.

Do not pretend you know it all. If you hear something that is new information that’s relevant to the interview, ask a follow-up question.

During the interview

Silence is your friend when it comes to interviewing someone. Never be afraid of silence (particularly if you are recording an interview that will be editing before broadcast).

Ask one question and wait for the person to answer. As they speak you can nod etc, but try not to make any noises. Do not interrupt them, just let them talk.

Stay focused on the interview, stay in the moment.

  • Be ready to move guest on if they start to wander.
  • Keeps listeners in mind throughout.
  • Keeps interjections to a minimum.


Bottom line

Your interview or programme needs to take listeners on a journey. Your show should have a beginning, a middle and an end.

Pose a question and give listeners an answer. Listeners should feel informed and better off having listened to your show, not confused or feeling less informed than before the show started.

Your show should be as entertaining as possible, flow and be engaging. If you get bored listening to it, then so will your listeners.

Stick to provable facts and ideally know the answer before you ask the question.

Copyright 2017

Centre Radio

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