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How to illicit a more passionate response from a stoic subject

Build Rapport

My answer can be summed up in two words: build rapport. The most passionate interviews I’ve conducted have felt like a conversation. The interviewee was relaxed and I was an active listener confident in my ability to let the conversation flow freely without losing track of my key messages.

Open Questions

In times when I’ve needed to illicit a more passionate response I’ve found success asking open questions like “Is there anything else you’d like to say?” It’s common for people to respond immediately with “YES!” before launching into some real ‘truths’ and emotion. Open questions beginning with “Why” will allow the subject to reveal their emotion when they’re ready. ‘Big picture’ questions to conclude an interview like “What is your vision for the future” can often illicit inspiring responses worthy of including in the so-called final ‘jab’ of a video.

Switch off the camera

I’ve also found success asking the interviewee to take a moment to gather their thoughts if they’re camera shy or unresponsive. Even switching the camera off for a moment and having a yarn can build trust and really help an interviewee find their mojo. Only once rapport is established can an interviewer pursue more personal and emotive themes.


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