Have you ever, while interviewing someone, asked a question to which you supplied your own multiple-choice answers? Like, “How good of an interviewer would you say you are? Great? Maybe not-so-great? The worst?”
If the answer is yes, your interviewing skills may need help, and Celeste Headlee is here to assist you.
I’ve long thought Headlee is one of the best interviewers in public radio, but that belief has now been externally validated: The video of her TED talk “10 ways to have a better conversation” is up to 3.5 million views.
She’s also authored a new book — Heard Mentality: An A-Z Guide to Take Your Podcast or Radio Show from Idea to Hit — that includes protips on interviewing, among other topics.
Another interviewing sin she admonishes: When interviewers ask a question to which they already know the answer, especially when they ask in a knowing, patronizing tone.
“They feel the need to broadcast — pardon the pun — the fact that they already know this. They’re just asking on your behalf,” Headlee told me on The Pub. “Oh, thank you, incredibly smart interviewer. Thank you for watching out for my ignorant butt.”
On this week’s show, five steps to becoming a better interviewer. Also:
- WXXI’s Scott Fybush offers an explainer of the new public TV interconnection system that is expected to cost upwards of $200 million. Is it worth it?
- Could “situational ethics” excuse a Texas PBS station head who hired her own daughter at $50,000 a year and let her work from New York?
- I am horrified by the lame, arguably corrupt local public TV news shows I’ve been asked to judge for a competition
- A defense of omitting the pronoun “that” from copy
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.