When I set out on my podcast journey, interviewing people wasn’t part of the plan. Coming from a documentary production background, I knew how to talk to someone; I just didn’t know how to handle it with only audio. Instead, I planned on weekly short monologues, ten minutes or less, with my thoughts and insights into this creative life. Three months into this schedule, I started to get bored with the format, so I added a challenge: interview someone about their work. I picked a friend. That seemed safe. I liked it, but it seemed like a lot of work. So I waited. Six months later, I interviewed another friend. I started to gain confidence. Two months after that, the momentum increased, and I fell in love with talking to people. In this episode of Getting Work To Work, I’m going to share why I interview people and what you would gain if you did as well, whether for a podcast or your career.
Nine lessons I’ve learned interviewing people on my podcast journey:
First, interviewing people is a fundamental skill that everyone should possess. Why?
- To research someone’s life and work in search of their uniqueness.
- The ability to come up with a list of questions and shape a conversation.
- To learn flexibility in conversation by listening to what’s being said and not being said.
- To witness the experiences of others in order to reveal your own discomfort, ignorance, privilege, entitlement, and lack of empathy.
- To magnify and celebrate commonalities and successes.
- To gain an understanding that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Second, when you interview people, it is an extension of your search for purpose and meaning.
Third, the more people you interview, the greater your understanding will be of each person’s uniqueness.
Fourth, listening to the stories and experiences of other people fills you with empathy and compassion.
Fifth, no matter how much you prepare, plan, and practice, it will always be a mystery on why some conversations flow and others don’t.
Sixth, if you are recording an interview for an audience to listen to, your experience and feelings about the interview will often be different than the finished interview.
Seventh, limiting senses increases intimacy.
Eighth, learning to reach out and ask for an interview is as important a skill as the interview itself.
Ninth, and finally, for people who have never been interviewed before, there is a sense of validation and affirmation for them that comes as a result of the process.