How to gain a good video interview

Our video training courses train charity staff to create short videos on their iPhones and one of the key parts of the training is helping people to gain a good video interview.  Speaking to a beneficiary, volunteer, fundraiser or staff member is an effective way to show the difference your charity makes.  Once you’ve identified someone willing to tell their story, the next challenge is ensuring that the interview brings out the best of their story. Interviewing can be challenging and asking the right questions is key to telling better stories. 

So this week’s blog gives a few tips on how to improve your interviews, gain the information you need and come away with an engaging, inspiring and motivating story.

1)    Research

Planning is key to a good interview; having questions ready and an idea of the direction of the conversation is important when conducting a good interview.  If you’re interviewing someone you don’t know very well, having some background information is helpful and gaining an insight from someone else’s perspective can help (perhaps talking to other staff or volunteers before the interview and asking them what they would ask can help).

Once you have done some research for your interview you can start to think about the key questions you want to ask. We usually prepare around 5 key questions but often the conversation goes in an unplanned and interesting direction. 

2)    Create a comfortable environment

It’s important that the interviewee feels safe and comfortable, especially if you’ve never met them before.  To this end we often hold a pre-interview telephone conversation with the interviewee to gain some background information and build a rapport with them. Forming trust is important in helping people share their story.

Meeting in a place that the interviewee feels comfortable will help.  We conduct many interviews in an interviewee’s home, in their workplace or in the place where they meet with a charity (hospital, hospice, care home...) and this helps them to feel comfortable. Initially the interview is about building rapport and this involves asking them about themselves and getting to know them.  Having compassion and empathy is important in building this rapport.

3)    Getting to the heart of the story

As an interviewer your role is to guide the story; reflecting on their story and getting to the heart of it is part of this role.  Find out 'what was the problem, who was involved and how was it solved' and ensure that your questions give the story structure so that they can articulate their story effectively.  Sensitively asking relevant follow up questions also helps to get to the heart of the story.

4)    Relax

Although planning, getting the right environment and effective questioning are important, perhaps the most important thing to remember is to not over plan the interview. Getting to know each other and ensuring there’s a relaxing environment helps the interviewee tell their story and having a relaxed conversational style helps to gain an authentic story on video.

Here's a few tips on the technical aspects of gaining a good interview and you can learn more about our video training here.

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