Golden Rule of Interviews: It's a Conversation, Not a Performance

After we interviewed Larissa, a young wordsmith who works for Australia-based nonprofit One Girl, we went back to our temporary studio to review the footage to see how it all went. In reality, though, we already knew.

We knew during the question and answer session, and as the chat was coming to a close, that was it was one of those truly remarkable interviews.

She had been passionate. Her answers were thoughtful. She had touched on every point that we knew we wanted to discuss—every point that would round out the story beautifully.

We're going to share the technique that led to such a strong and successful interview in the form of a free video tutorial below, but first I want to quickly acknowledge where we've been.

Last week we touched on the "It's Not Me, It's You" Syndrome. It's the phenomenon that occurs when we walk out of a really lackluster or weak interview, and we think it's the interviewee. We think it's her fault that her answers were too short and too bland.  She's just a really shy person and that's why she seemed so uncomfortable. We chalked it up to just her being who she was. Another "meh" interview in the bag. On to the next one. The next interview will be better.

This thinking couldn't be more misguided.

Once we figured out that every interview was the opportunity for a remarkable interview, everything changed. Once we realized that it wasn't the person in the chair opposite us who determined whether this interview would be ho-hum or out of the park—it was us—did things begin to change.

We've spent a decade conducting interviews, with everyone from brides to high-profile athletes and we've learned the methods that produce strong results. It's an approach that's backed by research in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience. We haven't just learned what works, by we've learned why it works.

All of this experience and research has culminated into a series of techniques for conducting truly remarkable interviews—interviews led with confidence that draw out meaningful, moving, and thoughtful answers.

Conducting remarkable interviews is entirely based on what we call the "golden rule" of interviews:

It's a conversation, not a performance.

It’s the golden rule of interviews: it’s a conversation, not a performance.

Once we began to embrace the golden rule, all of our interviews dramatically improved. It stopped being a matter of chance, and interviews began to be an experience that we could understand, positively influence, and lead with confidence.

The immediate results were compelling interviews, and the end results were stunning.

These were interviews like Larissa's, whose interview contributed to a story for her work's "Do It In A Dress" campaign. The campaign video featuring her interview received 45,000 shares on Facebook, which was a 350% increase in views over the previous year's campaign video (that didn't feature our techniques).

More than that, the organization saw a 20% uptick in campaign income over the previous year (which is super unheard of in the nonprofit industry). The organization's leaders contribute a huge part of this success to having a powerful story that communicates the essence of what they do. Larissa's interview leads that story.

That's the power of a remarkable interview.

Below is a free tutorial for the "Golden Rule of Interviews: It's a Conversation, Not a Performance." The 3-minute video introduces you to the course as a whole, then breaks down the Golden Rule and why it's important.

After that, the tutorial shares an amazingly helpful technique that you can start adopting now, and use in your next interview.

A free video tutorial on the golden rule of interviewing, by @stillmotion.

We truly hope you've found this golden rule and new filter useful. And if you're interested in checking out the rest of the tutorials in the course:

  • videos and lessons that lay the foundation for remarkable interviews
  • how to prepare for the interview
  • 6 core techniques to use during the interview ("They Are a Reflection of You," "Separate the Practical")
  • how to overcome challenges as they arise (answers too short, no passion),
  • and full, uncut interviews so you can see the techniques put to work

Check it out here: How to Conduct Remarkable Interviews.

p.s. - And if you'd like to check out Larissa's full, uncut interview—that's in there too.