Glen Carlson is the co-founder, COO and director of Dent Global (the 9th fastest growing company in Australia). Glen has a truly impressive resume. He’s built a business worth more than $20 million dollars (with clients across Australia, Singapore, USA and Europe) and has developed himself into a ‘small business expert’. More recently he’s shifted his focus to podcasting, which is one of the many places where our interests intersect.
Plaudits for Glen could easily fill up an entire article, but that isn’t my focus here. Instead, I’d like to highlight a key issue that came up in our conversation and one that I think is massively applicable for our audience. The issue is that many people don’t feel comfortable with their interviewing skills. Taken a step further, how can you become a better interviewer?
Interviewing is a craft, and many books have been dedicated to it. We won’t be able to hit those depths in a short article, but below you’ll find some actionable bullet points that you can start applying today.
- Do your homework – Glen talks about how he reads everything he can on a guest before interviewing them. Nothing helps a conversation flow like having all your facts straight. An interviewer should also ask him/herself ‘what is the big thing I want to get out of this person’ before starting each show.
- Don’t be rigid – there is no exact recipe or formula to making a good show or getting the perfect interview (per Glen). So take it all with a grain of salt. Copy other people’s routines and you’re going to start sounding like them. Remain as flexible as you can while talking with people and often the conversation with meander to interesting places naturally. Trust trial and error over best practices.
- Make people comfortable – it may be difficult when you’re just starting out, but relax as much as possible and put your guests at ease. The more comfortable you make someone, the higher the odds are that they’ll open up and spill their best knowledge.
- Ask follow ups – be an active listener and keep conversations flowing. Ask at least one follow up question to every answer a guest gives. This is a baseline to fall back on if an interview is feeling choppy. Also, don’t forget to close your mouth now and then. The best interviewers tease out great information from people without dominating the conversation. Don’t make an interview about you, keep the focus on your guests.
These are (of course) just starting points. Interviewing is like any other skill. The more you practise it, the more you grow that muscle memory until it becomes effortless. By finding the intersection of interest between your guest and the audience, and following some of the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to upping your interview game.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.