While in Journalism School at Boston University, I learned a lot about the importance of the lead when writing a story.

What four years of college didn’t teach me but I learned as a TV news reporter for a PBS station in South Carolina is how to conduct a video interview.

It seems pretty easy, but getting someone to share personal insights and experiences that make for a compelling video takes some practice.

Here are some tips on how to conduct a great interview:

  1. Never show your interview subject the questions you’ll be asking in advance. You don’t want them to memorize answers and come across as rehearsed.
  2. Make the person you’re interviewing comfortable.  If you’re nervous, they’re going to be nervous.
  3. Make good eye contact, and let the interviewee know you’re interested in what they’re saying.
  4. Start off your interview with a few easy questions. That way the person on camera will be much more relaxed when you get to the questions that are essential to your piece.
  5. Ask good follow-up questions. Some of the best material for your video often comes from topics that come up that you didn’t anticipate.

Interviewing is my favorite part of the production process.  So whether you’re channeling your inner Charlie Rose, Terri Gross or Brett Baier, enjoy this opportunity to get to know some interesting things about your subject.

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