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Improving Your Interviewing Skills

Watching the revival of Dallas last week (okay, I admitted it….), I heard J.R. Ewing say something that got me thinking about interviewing skills.  He said to his son, “Never pass up an opportunity to shut up!”  I thought how often I’ve given this same advice (in kinder words) to anchors and reporters when helping them improve their interviewing skills.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in an interview is to try and show off how much you know in your questions.  A Q & A is not about you.  It’s about your interviewee.  Put your ego aside and ask direct, simple questions that will get the best answer out of your interviewee.  I often think of good interview questions as being like jabs in boxing.  They should be forceful and direct and hit the exact spot that will get the best answer from the other person.  And what should you do once you’ve asked this direct question? You got it, shut up!

Check back here next week for part two on improving your interviews.

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