Interviewing with the Person-al Touch

Bryan Person interviewed me yesterday via Skype video, a reverse of our roles from the podcast episode in which I interviewed him in his previous incarnation at in Maynard, Mass. He and his family have relocated to Austin, Texas, where he works as a social media evangelist at LiveWorld, Inc., and continues to expand his reach as a social media leader through his blog, his podcasting, and his event organizing.

After 33 interviews for The Kindle Chronicles, it was fun to sit on the other side of the Skype recording. Bryan had a clear plan for the interview, beginning with my thoughts on the demise of The Rocky Mountain News and segueing into the Kindle's effect on the newspaper business and my work on the Kindle podcast. As I think about how positive an experience it was to be interviewed by Bryan, I am moved to offer these tips for great interviews:

1. Spend time researching your guest's work.
As a guest, I knew I was in good hands when I realized Bryan knew exactly how long I've been doing The Kindle Chronicles, and what I'd Twittered about the Rocky's last issue. He also knew that the bonging sound that accompanied us at one point was my great-grandfather's clock, something I've mentioned from time to time in my podcast. His preparation set me at ease and let me know that I was in good hands.

2. Listen, listen, listen
When Bryan asked a question, I could see from the video that he leaned back and listened to my reply. I never had the feeling that he was impatient for me to finish so he could ask his next question. It was as if each question was the last of the interview, and I had all the time in the world to respond. He also asked followup questions based on what I said. When I remembered that I had bought my Kindle a month after they were released in 2007, he wryly asked how come I had taken that long.

3. Get the technical stuff right
Bryan had worked out the method of using Skype video and Call Recorder to do the interview, so there was a minimum of horsing around to set up the conversation. That's another way to set your guest at ease.

4. Be the director of your show
I'm a big believer in the Rule of Thirds for composing still and video images, so I began sitting slightly off to the side of my camera's frame. Bryan realized this would look odd when the two videos were arranged side by side, so he suggested I move to the center of the camera's view. This made all the difference. Envision how you want your podcast interview to look or sound in its final version, and don't be afraid to guide the setup in order to achieve it.

5. Keep your audience in mind
Bryan made sure we drew on my experience with The Kindle Chronicles for ideas that might be useful to other companies taking advantage of brand enthusiasts' independent podcasts or other media. It's good during the interview to imagine your audience and ask yourself, "I wonder what they'd be asking now of this guest?"

All in all, it was fun and enlightening to sit down for an interview with my social media friend Bryan Person. If he gives you a call for an interview, be sure to drop everything and prepare for a very satisfying experience.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Thank you for the very kind words. The interview was a lot of fun! One little technical issue still to sort out, though: that slight delay between the audio and video. I'll get there!

Bryan | @BryanPerson
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