In #lockdown, a lot of people are podcasting, video podcasting, hosting webinars/guesting on webinars, vlogging, hosting online masterclasses, and interviewing other people to add value to those masterclasses (colleagues/contacts/experts etc). We’ve all become interviewers (and presenters, but that’s another blog…).

But, can we all BE GOOD INTERVIEWERS? It’s just asking questions, right? And hopefully listening to the answers. So – we just need to be able to (1) speak, (2) listen, and (3) say goodbye at the end?

Sarah Lockett interviewing at ITN
Sarah Lockett interviewing, ITN

Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. And I don’t mean to say that only trained/experienced broadcasters like myself can do it. It just takes a bit of training, practice and knowhow. There are rules, techniques, habits that work – and those that don’t.

I have recently been delivering my updated “Interviewing Skills” training courses (online). They’re one-to-one sessions, with a really valuable interactive element: the trainee interviews me (! which makes a change, as I usually do the interviewing) and we playback/feedback. Depending on what the trainee needs, I pretend to be really dull and long-winded (I know, hard to believe) and they have to zhuzh/sparkle me up, by what they say. And they need to interrupt (in a nice way) to stop me from droning on.

I see the internet defines ‘good listeners’ as:

  • They’re fully present. …
  • They don’t listen to respond. …
  • They react in the moment. …
  • They don’t have an agenda. …
  • They don’t jump to give advice. …
  • They never interrupt. ..

But of course – we’re not there just to listen. This isn’t therapy. We have to shape the discussion, keep it on track, keep it moving, stop it stultifying – and keep it interesting for the viewer/listener.

There’s LOTS to say about being a good interviewer. Get in touch to book a one-to-one session (via MS Teams).

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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