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Jane Hutcheon

broadcaster/journalist/author

09 Sep
2018

How Do You Get the Interviewee to Relax? FAQ

Jane Hutcheon

The interview set-up, which can be anywhere (in someone's home, on a stage, in the centre of a crowd) needs to be a coccoon where you first set the mood by some light but focused conversation. 

Sometimes you may just need to make the guest laugh.  Breathing is always good.

These days unless I'm at festivals or special events, it's rare for me to have an audience during my interviews. 

On One Plus One the cameras are automated so there's actually no-one else in the studio except for the guest and me, atlhough there are people in a control-room nearby.  This is about as intimate a setting as you can get.   

I have a few minutes to break the ice.  I do this by chatting about the guest's new work or clearing up any missing holes in the research: What happened in those years when...Did you stop being a sex-worker? How would you feel if we spoke about the time when....

That's all.  I try to keep it light. I look at people to try to read their mood.  Sometimes they'll tell me things like, "I'm really jet-lagged.  I got off the plane from LA last night."  Every now and then a guest tells me they find these sorts of interviews challenging.  

I hope I manage to change that by the end.

And then as soon as the director informs that we are recording, I begin like a toboggan setting off down a snow-covered hill, peeling away the layers at a pace which seems comfortable and achievable for the guest.

 

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