How can you get the best out of an interviewee (or yourself) on video?

There’s a hair out of place. I have a triple chin. I can’t stand the sight/sound of myself. My posture is atrocious. Do my teeth need whitened. I am not interesting. I have nothing to say. We’ve heard every excuse in the book for not wanting to share thoughts on video. We’ve used most of them too.

If you have a point of view and you believe in it, then you’ve got all you need to go on camera. Here are ten more tips to get the best version of yourself or your interviewee on film.

5 tips when you're being interviewed (or are interviewing yourself).

Enough with the excuses, here are five things to help you stop hiding behind blog posts and start getting your thoughts as quickly and concisely as possible on video where your audience can see and hear them.

1. Don’t wait until you have “perfected” your idea or point of view to capture it on film. In fact, the act of trying to clearly articulate it will help you refine it – you’ll find it gets sharper (and more focused) after every take.

2. Don’t obsess about your appearance. We can assure you that exactly no one is paying as much attention as you are to what you’re wearing or what your hair looks like. They really do just want to hear what you have to say.

3. Don’t obsess about vanity metrics. Odds are you will not become an overnight YouTube sensation. Odds are also that you do not need to be that. Leave big numbers out of your expectation equation and focus on getting just a few reactions from people who can actually impact whatever objective you’re trying to achieve.

4. Publish your video on the channel that makes most sense for your audience. Don’t feel the need to optimise for every channel. For most of our clients, that superstar channel is LinkedIn, where you can reach a small but high quality audience that will actually react personally to your video. We like to think of LinkedIn as the social channel most likely to yield a real life outcome (and not just empty video views or impressions).

5. Don’t listen to people who suggest you are “overexposed”. We often hear from clients who have been posting videos regularly that others in their network or own organisation rather passive aggressively suggest that they are too visible or are “making it about them and not the organisation/message.”

Our advice is to IGNORE THIS NONSENSE immediately. Because yes, it is about you. You, the human, are the gateway to getting anyone in your audience (typically also humans) to care about your organisation or message. Over time you will see that the naysayers are far outnumbered by people who will consistently give you positive feedback. Ignore the naysayers.

5 tips when you are the interviewer.

So you’re behind the camera and someone has put their trust in you. They will be at their best if you can get them to relax, be comfortable with you as an interviewer and most importantly to be confident that they are “performing” well.

1. Give your interviewee no more than 3 questions to prep in advance of the interview. You don’t want them coming in completely cold to your session, but you don’t want them over-prepared either.

2. Avoid over-scripting them. Some interviewees prefer to be given suggested responses to your questions. Provide these a loose bullets instead of full sentences to allow room for them to make the responses their own.

3. Convey positive body language and facial expressions throughout the shoot. When your interviewee is talking, it’s so important for them to get positive energy back from you and you’ll obviously have to provide this in a non-verbal way. Let them see your eyes reacting to what they are saying, nod your head a lot (but not robotically!), smile a bit, act surprised and interested – you get the point. Just be a good human really.

4. Don’t ask them to repeat an answer more than twice. There is nothing that will kill someone’s confidence more quickly than the feeling that they are failing. If one line of questioning has got them tongue-tied, just move on to the next question. You can always sneak it in later in the session by rephrasing it as an extra question.

5. Know when your interviewee’s energy is spent. We’ve found most interviewees have a maximum of 45 minutes of interview time in them. Regardless of how comfortable you’ve been able to make them, formulating thoughts aloud is mentally tiring. Take the temperature of the room and when you feel like their energy is low, just call it a day, even if there is still time in the calendar to continue.

In the mood for more tips?

Ex-EURACTIV video journalist and Bump Video Lead Mike Ball and Digital Lead Ali Colwell run point on most of our interview videos. Brett Kobie (the guy in the video) also does his fair share of interviewing. Hit them up on LinkedIn for a coffee.

Header image credit: large camera :: blue, black, pink :: clean graffiti style –ar 16:9

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