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Training Podcasts Series 3 – Episode 1 – Interviewing Techniques


Series 3: The Art of Interviewing

Episode 1: Interviewing Techniques

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Welcome back to EcoPodcasts! I’m Giota, and you are tuning into the first episode of our series “The Art of Interviewing”. In this series, we will explore how to conduct compelling interviews that can enrich your podcasts and engage your audience. Now, we are focusing on interviewing techniques. We will cover how to prepare for an interview, types of interview questions, and strategies for conducting effective interviews. So, let’s get started!

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In this episode, we will dive into three main areas: preparing for an interview, crafting effective interview questions, and conducting the interview itself. By the end of this episode, you will have the tools and confidence to conduct interviews that are both informative and engaging.

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Segment 1: Preparing for an Interview

Let’s start with preparation. A successful interview begins long before you sit down with your guest. Here’s how to prepare effectively:

First, thoroughly research your guest. Learn about their background, expertise, and recent work. This helps you ask informed questions and show respect for their time. For instance, if your guest is an environmental scientist, read some of their recent publications or watch videos of their previous talks.

Next, understand the main topic of the interview. If you are discussing climate change, make sure you are up-to-date with the latest developments and statistics. This ensures your questions are relevant and timely.

Prepare an outline for your interview. List the main topics you want to cover and arrange them in a logical order. This helps keep the interview focused and ensures you don’t miss any important points. For example, start with background questions, move on to specific projects or insights, and conclude with forward-looking questions.

Also, consider your interview format. Will it be a structured interview with a set list of questions, or a more open-ended conversation? Each format has its advantages. A structured interview keeps you on track, while an open-ended approach can lead to unexpected and valuable insights.

Reach out to your guest with a clear invitation. Explain the purpose of the interview, why you are interested in speaking with them, and how long it will take. Provide an outline of the topics you would like to discuss. This helps your guest prepare and feel more comfortable.

Finally, prepare your recording equipment. Ensure your microphone, recording software, and any other tools are in good working order. Test your setup before the interview to avoid technical issues.

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Segment 2: Crafting Effective Interview Questions

With your preparation complete, it’s time to focus on crafting effective interview questions. The right questions can elicit insightful responses and keep the conversation engaging. Here’s how to create them:

Start with open-ended questions. These encourage your guest to provide detailed answers rather than simple yes or no responses. For example, instead of asking, “Do you think recycling is important?” ask, “Can you describe the impact of recycling on environmental sustainability?”

Use follow-up questions to dive deeper into interesting points. If your guest mentions a specific project or experience, ask them to elaborate. This can reveal new information and make the interview more dynamic. For instance, “You mentioned a recent study on ocean pollution. Can you tell us more about the findings and their implications?”

Incorporate a mix of question types. Include factual questions to establish context, opinion questions to explore your guest’s views, and hypothetical questions to stimulate creative thinking. For example, “What are the biggest challenges in your field today?” followed by, “How do you envision the future of renewable energy?”

Balance between specific and general questions. Specific questions show that you have done your homework, while general questions allow your guest to provide broader insights. For instance, “Can you explain the process behind your latest research?” versus “What motivates you to work in environmental science?”

Avoid leading questions that suggest a particular answer. Instead, frame questions neutrally to allow your guest to express their true opinions. For example, rather than asking, “Don’t you think the government should do more about climate change?” try “What role do you believe the government should play in addressing climate change?”

Prepare some icebreaker questions to help your guest feel at ease at the beginning of the interview. These can be light-hearted or personal questions that build rapport. For instance, “What inspired you to pursue a career in environmental science?” or “Can you share a memorable experience from your work in conservation?”

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Segment 3: Conducting the Interview

Now that you have your questions ready, it’s time to conduct the interview. Here are some strategies to ensure it goes smoothly:

Start with a warm welcome. Greet your guest warmly and thank them for joining you. Briefly explain the format of the interview and what you hope to achieve. This sets a positive tone and helps your guest feel comfortable.

Listen actively throughout the interview. Pay close attention to your guest’s answers and show genuine interest. Use verbal and non-verbal cues to demonstrate that you are engaged. Nodding, maintaining eye contact, and giving verbal acknowledgments like “I see” or “That’s interesting” can go a long way.

Be flexible with your questions. While it’s important to have an outline, be prepared to deviate from it based on your guest’s responses. If they mention something particularly intriguing, don’t hesitate to explore it further, even if it wasn’t part of your original plan.

Encourage storytelling by asking your guest to share personal experiences. Stories can make the interview more relatable and memorable. For example, “Can you share a story about a time when your work made a significant impact?”

Keep an eye on the time to ensure you cover all the main topics without rushing. If the conversation is going off on a tangent, gently steer it back to the main points. You might say, “That’s a fascinating point. Let’s circle back to how it relates to our main topic.”

Handle sensitive topics with care. If your interview covers controversial or emotional subjects, approach these areas with empathy and respect. Let your guest know that it’s okay to skip questions if they are uncomfortable.

At the end of the interview, thank your guest again and provide an opportunity for them to add any final thoughts. Ask if there is anything else they would like to share that you might not have covered. This ensures that your guest feels heard and valued.

After the interview, review your recording to identify any key points or quotes that stood out. This will help you in the editing process and ensure that you highlight the most impactful parts of the conversation.

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Congratulations! You have learned how to prepare for an interview, craft effective questions, and conduct the interview itself. With these techniques, you are well-equipped to conduct compelling interviews that enrich your podcasts and engage your audience. In our next episode, we will dive into practical interviewing, where we will explore hands-on techniques and analyze real examples. Thanks for tuning in to EcoPodcasts. Until next time, happy interviewing!

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University of Macedonia

Giota Digkoglou


This podacst explores
the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

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