June 5, 2014

My favorite interview questions for corporate video

How many interviews have I done for corporate video? At least 100.  All kinds of people…NFL players, CEOs, Federal agency directors, billionaires, Admirals and Generals, technologists, veterans, military service members, politicians, academics, scientists, middle managers, entertainers…the list goes on. Whether stand-up exteriors, or sit-down in studio, I enjoy these conversations. 

When I prepare for interviews, I craft questions that will get at what, exactly, we are trying to communicate.  Because I want the editor to have the best possible “selects” to use, I’ll sometimes ask questions in different ways. Sometimes I’ll circle back, and re-ask a question again.

Open-ended, and difference-making:
How has “x” changed?
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen?
Describe why you think “x” has changed?
What’s the biggest challenge of “x”?
How do you define success of (achieving) “x”?

Beyond the obvious:
What is often misunderstood about “x”?
What would you like people to remember about “x”?
How do you see “x” five years from now? 10 years? 15 years?

Always include:
What makes you most proud?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
In ONE word, how would you describe “x”?
Is there anything I HAVEN’T asked, that you’d like to tell me?

These are some of the things you can ask to make sure your interview is:
1.       Interesting, important
2.       Predictive (forward-looking)
3.       Sincere and personal/transparent

Because I’ve done so much of this, I am usually editing the responses in my head for the video, as I conduct the interview. Those responses later jump out at me from the transcripts, and make it much easier in post-production to find the thread of the story, punctuate the story, and leave audiences with memorable take-aways.
This is Part 1 of “The Interview.” Part 2 will be: My favorite interview responses for corporate video

Do you have a favorite interview question you've asked, or that you've been asked?

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