Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On Interviewing

I never set out in broadcasting to become an interviewer. As a matter of fact in the first half of my career, I did very little interviewing, choosing instead to focus on what I thought would be a career in broadcast management. But, while I did spend many years managing, I always stayed active as an announcer and eventually found myself in situations where I needed to sharpen my skills as an interviewer. Of course, there's no substitute for experience and starting to host many shows that required conversational interviews gave me a steady stream of opportunities to develop and grow.

The old adage applies that interviewing is more caught than taught. While reading about the art of interviewing was helpful in small ways, I learned far more by listening to other professionals and how they conducted their interviews. Fortunately (to use a Christian term), there were many talented people to emulate-- up close and personal, as well as on-the-air. In thinking about this, I realize that I took a little bit of wisdom or strategy from each one and then personalized it. I didn't want to imitate them, I just wanted to incorporate something from them that would fit who I am and use it in developing my own style. Of course, this process never stops. I am constantly listening to interviews and picking up clues which I might be able to incorporate.

The best piece of advice for those wanting to become better interviewers? Listen to everything you do. Then, pick out one thing you could do better next time. If you're anything like me, you'll always have something to improve on :)


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