A How to for a Great Interview

So someone asked me recently to talk about the keys to being a great interviewer. I'm by no means an expert, but I'll try and provide some thoughts. Here you go:

1. Do your homework. You would be amazed how many people show up to do an interview and have no clue about who they are interviewing, and just try to wing it. It shows. Believe me.

2. Ask the question behind the question. Get under the surface. Dig deeper. Not to uncover gossip or something that is not relevant, but because someone has probably already asked the question you are thinking about asking. So ask a better one.

3. Shutup. No one wants to hear your answer to the question, otherwise the tables would be turned. Your job is to pull great content out of the interviewee, not to give your opinion.

4. Create a conversation, not just a serve and volley. When appropriate, give the sense to your listeners that you are sitting in a living room having coffee and catching up. Creating conversation is different than just giving your opinion or an answer to your question. Conversations require context, which means you have to have 20 or 30 questions ready to go for an interview that would usually be around 10 questions.

5. Don't interrupt unless you need to, keep your hands off the table, and save your "ums" and "uh-huhs" and "oh-yeahs" for after you're done. For audio or video purposes, your agreeing by saying something just muddies the water. It seems like the thing to do in person- giving your interviewee verbal feedback, but just stick with non-verbal. Sounds better when you don't respond. And hitting or tapping the table is picked up by microphones- seems obvious, but everyone forgets.....

6. Listen. Seems obvious, but great interviewers actually listen to an answer being given, instead of preparing for the next question and not actually hearing what the person is saying. Listening creates great follow up questions. And creates trust with the interviewee.

7. Provide your questions beforehand. Send your questions to the person you are interviewing before the interview so they can prepare.

8. Study the best. Watch Charlie Rose, Bob Costas, Barbara Walters, Oprah, etc. Learn from their style.

7 Questions with Dave Gibbons

Had the chance to catch up with Dave Gibbons recently. Dave is such an inspiration to me. He is the senior pastor of NewSong Church in Irvine and multiple campuses around the world; the CEO of XEALOT; a board member and advisor to several non-profits and for profit companies; a proven strategist, creative consultant and innovator; and the author of several books including his most recent Xealots.

In the interviews we discuss the new book, the global Church, his involvement with leaders all over the world, missional leadership, and what he sees as true community.




Interview with Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys

The brand new Catalyst Podcast episode features an interview with Tony Romo, starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Tony stopped by our Catalyst Dallas event last week and had some fun with Tripp and Tyler on stage, then joined Matt Chandler for an interview on stage. The interview on the podcast is from backstage with Ken Coleman, talking leadership, faith, and football. This podcast episode also includes a feature interview with  Jon Acuff, best-selling author of Stuff Christians Like and the brand new book Quitter.

You can listen to the interviews here, or better yet, subscribe for FREE on itunes.

Three interviews worth watching

I've been in Dallas all week with our first time Catalyst three day event there. It was amazing! Wow. Blown away. More on that in the next couple of days. In the meantime, wanted to share some interviews from Catalyst West backstage back in March that I think are worth watching- with Michael Hyatt, Randall Wallace, and Matt Chandler. If you are not familiar with these three, Michael Hyatt is the Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and the top leadership blogger in the country. Randall Wallace has written, produced and directed films like Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, and Secretariat. And Matt Chandler is the pastor of The Village Church outside of Dallas and an amazing Bible teacher and communicator, and frequent speaker at Catalyst.

Watch live streaming video from catalystbackstage at

Watch live streaming video from catalystbackstage at

Watch live streaming video from catalystbackstage at

Jack Dorsey and Dave Ramsey from Catalyst Backstage

Here's a couple of great interviews from Catalyst Backstage, earlier this month at Catalyst West. Featuring Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter; Dave Ramsey, best-selling author, financial expert and national radio host, and Jon Acuff, acclaimed blogger and author of Stuff Christians Like and soon to release book Quitter.


Watch live streaming video from catalystbackstage at

Watch live streaming video from catalystbackstage at