What’s the Most Important Interviewing Skill?


That’s easy: it’s listening.

As a young reporter, I stubbornly stuck to the questions in my notebook, I rarely listened to what was said to me before I opened my mouth.

I think many broadcasters fear silence. Silence is a sign that something has broken down. Now I use my questions – which are printed out and attached to my beloved clipboard – as a guide only.

Sometimes I barely refer to the questions.

If I’m caught in the moment of the guest’s story, I think I’ve done my job well.

If you like a particular style of interview, read/listen or watch a lot of them.

I’m drawn to interviews that are a bit like mine; I like to feel I’m taken below the surface chat. I think a good political interviewer is someone who systematically works his/her way into a problematic issue which they’ve found by carefully circling their prey subject.