Last night I took the first in a series of three audio storytelling classes. I’ve been kicking around the idea of a podcast and this is my chance to learn some of the basics before diving in. The first class was about the art of the audio interview and this is what I learned:
- When putting together audio, think about what you have and you need from your interviewee. For example, they may be able to do a perfectly fine introduction of who they are without you having to introduce them to your listeners.
- As a follow-on to point one, don’t ask an interviewee his or her name. Instead, ask him or her to introduce themselves. You’ll learn a lot more from that kind of answer and it’s more interesting to your listeners.
- Do a pre-interview to identify one or two burning questions that will get the main interview started.
- With audio interviews, you want to start out with a broad set of details and then zero in on one of those specific details to go deep into a story. You actually want to go down the rabbit hole – that’s where all of the good stories are and take full advantage of surprise twists and turns.
- Do whatever you need to do to make your interviewees comfortable so that they feel they can be open and honest with you. To that end, let them know you’re going to ask a lot of questions and they have every right to tell you that they don’t want to answer anything you ask. It’s your job to ask questions; it’s their job to decide what to reveal.
- Silence is golden. Don’t try to fill dead time. Let it lie and you’ll see that they will fill it.
- Don’t verbally agree with an interviewee as it mucks up the audio recording. Instead, shake your head, smile, etc. to encourage him or her.
- Some technical points: PCM Recorder is a fantastic app to use for audio recording and it’s free; our smartphones have great audio recording capabilities so use them; the mic of a mobile phone is at the bottom so when you hold it up to an interviewee make sure the bottom of the phone faces him or her; have the mic about a fist away from the interviewee’s mouth to get the best sound quality; always make sure to check your audio quality before conducting an interview.
I can’t wait to continue to share what I learn in the next two classes! Got questions? Send ’em on over and I’ll do my best to get the answers for you.