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Entries in video interview (4)


Revealed: My (Best) Video Interviewing Secret Ever

After interviewing 1,500+ people on-camera, I've learned how to deal with lots of different interviewing challenges.

And I've learned lots of little secrets to work around those challenges.

But there is one very cool interviewing secret I learned (um, the hard way)
And now, you can use it, too.

Once I discovered this technique, I started using it successfully in every interview from that moment on.

Nowadays, content comes from a variety of sources
If part of your marketing content depends on capturing great material from interviews, then you'll be interested in knowing about this technique.

Head on over to Content Marketing Institute to read my article
"Why Video Interview Content Falls Short (And How to Fix It)."

While you're there, feel free to add your comments, "like" it or tweet it.

Thank you.


P.S. I almost forgot.

You can use this technique in your audio and print interviews, as well.


Eye Contact: Have You Noticed This Shift?

"The eyes have one language everywhere." George Herbert / Welsh poet

Hooked. Captivated. Hypnotized.

That’s exactly how I felt the first time I interviewed someone looking directly into the camera. And I felt this way for good reason; it’s how we talk to one another.

But for all too long, video conversations have struggled to feel “natural” and “organic.” That’s because video technology wasn’t available to allow direct eye contact until only recently.

Typically, people have been prompted with pre-written scripts. Or people look off-screen to the left or right. Heck, we don’t look to the left or right when we are talking to someone and we don’t memorize our lines ahead of time, either.

The era of “impersonal video conversations” is finally changing. There’s a subtle shift happening in “video land.” So subtle, in fact, you probably haven’t even noticed it.

This shift is real and terribly important to your audience and marketplace.

With the help of a simple component that connects to the front lens of a video camera, we can easily have someone look and talk conversationally to an audience…right into their eyes.

This may not seem like a big deal…but it is.

Here’s why.

Let’s say you’re having a conversation with a friend. And they’re reading from a pre-written script while looking directly at you. You’d feel pretty awkward, right?

Let’s call this “Stage 1” in the evolution of video conversations.

If we took this real life conversation and “mapped” it onto a TV screen, it would come across like this: “Just listen and look at me while I read a pre-written message.”

Most of the times, there wasn’t much “heart” in this type of delivery. “Real” people struggled trying to perform effortlessly like an actor and came across unnatural.

The attributes of “Stage 1” conversations are:
1. Precise
2. Forced
3. Remote

Of course, portable film and television gear in the early days wasn’t available so using the TelePrompTer for company messages was common and widespread.

This was the predominant form of communication for many companies in the 1960’s through the 1980’s. But think about this: the TelePrompTer is designed for the written word. Messages were carefully crafted as if they were going to be printed and read; not seen and heard.

Stage 2.
Now picture your friend looking to the left or right while they talked to you. How would you feel? Invisible?

Subconsciously, here’s the visual metaphor in television: “Ignore the viewer and talk to someone else.”

The attributes of this video conversation are:
1. Open
2. Genuine
3. Indirect

By the mid-60's, portable documentary equipment was starting to come onto the scene thus making it possible to film interviews “on the fly” without much set-up. “Stage 2” conversations are fluid, casual, and spontaneous but still missing direct eye contact to the viewer.

Stage 3.
Now imagine a conversation where each of you are looking at one another. This is the latest evolution of video conversations. The breakthrough was popularized by Academy Award winning director, Errol Morris.

For the first time in audio/visual communications, we can now capture candid conversations that closely reflect real life conversations.

Attributes for “Stage 3” conversation are:
1. Compelling
2. Genuine
3. Direct

For a stunning glimpse into how an organization can embrace this “eye-to-eye” concept and emotionally move an audience to new levels, take a few moments to check out my favorite corporate film that Errol produced for IBM. Feel the difference?

In 60 years, the television and video industry has migrated from “read this script and look into the camera” to “speak from your heart and look into the camera.”

Over to you. What do you think?

  • Is social media driving video conversations into new areas?
  • Are you seeing more examples of direct eye contact in video conversations on the web or from companies?
  • Does eye contact even matter?



Is This the Future of Video Storytelling for Organizations? 

I don’t know how I missed this, but I did.

In February of 2007, The Washington Post launchedonBeing.”

The concept?

We need to get to know each other better and what better way to do that than by capturing everyday stories from everyday people.

The result? Short video stories that are:

  • Compelling
  • Inspiring
  • Radically simple

“The unique videos present the musings, attitudes, passions and quirks of people in an up-close documentary style. Each person speaks to the camera against a stark white background. The uncomplicated presentation intensifies the viewing experience and focuses the spotlight on each person's story without distraction.” (Washington Post press release)

Beyond the simplicity it offers, there is something “soulful” about it. Perhaps it’s the fact that each one of us have stories that resonate with one another. Yes, the details in our stories are different but the truth in another’s story is also within us, too. After watching a few of these stories, I find myself remembering that we are all connected and inseparable.

“The initial four “on Being” segments are emblematic of how we can learn from each other by sharing experiences and thoughts.” (Washington Post press release)

Maybe this is why we’re seeing more organizations embrace this approach to connect to their viewers and readers.

Over to you-

  • Can organizations use video narratives as a way to learn from one another?
  • Are video narratives an effective way to genuinely engage employees and its customers?
  • In a time of information saturation, should organizations integrate narratives into their communications efforts? If so, how?
  • Can our individual stories be part of a larger brand’s story?

So what do you think?


PS. I've successfully used this "Errol Morris" technique many times. It's an incredibly simple but effective way to engage your audience with your story or message.


The Hero's Journey Pt.3: Capturing the Corporate Video Interview

The crew is ready. Your interviewee, or hero, is ready. You’re ready.

Now, the second part of the “hero’s journey,” the “initiation,” is about to begin.

Of course, this initiation is not a series of tests in the classical sense of the “hero’s journey.” Think of the “initiation” as a conversation; simply a series of explorations into someone’s point of view.

We started off this series talking about the hero’s journey as a metaphor for video storytelling.

The next post shared the steps to prepare for the video interview, or the first stage of the hero’s journey; the “separation.”

  • Step 1. Be a story steward
  • Step 2. The story is in your answers
  • Step 3. Keep the questions to yourself

This post will focus on the second stage of the hero’s journey, the initiation, and the three components to successfully capture your hero’s story on-camera.

The Hero’s Journey: The Initiation

Step 1. Warm-up questions
It’s tempting to jump right in and start asking questions about your topic. That can be a rough way to start your conversation, especially for someone who has never appeared on camera before. Consider entering the conversation informally and more naturally, like you were asking questions over a meal.

Begin the conversation by asking questions you may not use in your video but will put everyone at ease. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that some of the answers to these warm-up questions are a great way to start or end your video.

Here are a few questions I like to ask to gradually get the conversation going. Pick what will work for you.
• What were you doing before you came here?
• How did you discover this job?
• What’s a good day for you look like?
• How does that make you feel?
• What are you passionate about? What makes you tick?
• When you were coming into work this morning, what were you thinking about?
• When someone asks you what its like to work here, what do you say?
• What’s the culture like here? Describe it for those who haven’t been here.

Step 2. Provide space in-between questions
Once the conversation is underway, turn your attention to the content of the video.
Now that the conversation is underway, here’s a simple technique to get the most from your interview.

Instead of jumping right into the next question, wait a few seconds before speaking. Give a moment to the interviewee to see if they want to add anything else to what they just said. It may look like they finished their statement, but in fact, they often want to say more. They just need the space to say it. Provide that space with a few seconds of pause before you jump into your next question.

Step 3. What did we miss?
You asked all your questions; even a few extra spontaneous ones. You’re done, right? Not yet.

Take a few moments to reflect on what was covered. Nine times out of 10, you missed something. Think of asking your questions from a different perspective. Perhaps you didn’t cover a certain area of your customers, vendors, company divisions, etc.

Another great technique I often use is to turn around and ask my film crew if they have any questions. A crew brings an entirely different perspective to the conversation and it’s a great way to capture additional and important ideas you might have missed.

Speaking of missing, what did I miss? What tips or techniques have you used to capture a great interview? If you’ve appeared in a company film, what suggestions would you share to make the journey more successful and inspiring?


P.S. Originally posted on my FastCompany.com column, "Let's See That Again!"