How to master the interviewing art

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fast company interview story

fast company interview storyYesterday’s posting suggested that client satisfaction surveys should be handled in person, one-on-one, with a senior executive without direct connections to the project at hand. This requires interviewing skills.

The interviewing process comes naturally to me, of course after several decades experience in journalism. There’s an art in encouraging people to open up, describe their real feelings, and elicit the truth, while leaving the individuals interviewed feeling they’ve been subjected to an inquisition. I find these skills especially helpful in social/networking events — not my most comfortable environment, with a (n un) healthy dose of extreme introversion. Yet, with interviewing skills, I can empathize, draw out stories, and really get to know the other person’s feelings, values, and experiences.

This Fast Company “leadership now” posting provides six communications tools for effective interviewing, and you may find it worthy to read and implement these ideas.

Here’s an example:

3. PRACTICE FLEXIBLE LISTENING

What seems like the simplest part of holding a conversation or conducting an interview is often the trickiest. It’s listening–the right way.

Skilled interviewers become adept at listening not just to the words their subject is saying but also the tone in which the words are said, the pauses and nuances of the answer and what’s being left unsaid.

This active, flexible listening lets them know when to move onto a new subject and when the moment is ripe to probe a little deeper with a follow-up question.

Off-the-cuff questions often yield the best answers – but the opportunity only arises from deep, engaged listening. Take a lesson from Katie Couric and stay poised to change direction based on what happens in the conversation.

“Nothing is worse for me as a viewer than to watch someone go down a laundry list of questions and not explore something with a little more depth after someone has answered a question … I think you need to use your questions as sort of a template, but you have to be willing to listen and veer off in a totally different direction.”

You can read the rest of the ideas here.

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