Interview Better by Leaving the Script

Legendary NFL coach Bill Walsh is considered the godfather of the “West Coast Offense” and also made vogue the practice of scripting the first 25 offensive plays of a game. He stuck to the script regardless of the game’s changing circumstances and obviously garnered a great deal of success, but should interviewers stick to their scripted questions regardless of an interview’s changing direction?

Leave the scripted strategy to execute more productive interviews.

Leave the scripted strategy to execute more productive interviews.

I was recently listening to an interview on NPR’s, “All Things Considered.” The conversation was between the show’s host and an extremely obscure folk musician who had some interesting songs, but as we soon found out, had an even more interesting back story. Having asked thousands of interview questions over the years, I recognized the host’s prepared questions. However, the guest’s response to one of the questions offered an interesting and unexpected tidbit that caught my attention. It caught the host’s attention too because she immediately followed up, and the interview went an entirely unanticipated – and highly interesting – direction from that point.

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Three interview tips you can learn from Phil Robertson

President Richard Nixon was once asked why he didn’t do more press conferences. His response: “Too much exposure cheapens the product.” It’s advice Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty boys would do well to heed.


Robertson, the patriarch of the ubiquitous family made famous by the reality show, Duck Dynasty, found himself in the crosshairs of the GBLT crowd and those who kowtow to political correctness by saying in a magazine article that homosexuality is a sin. The network that airs the program, A&E, suspended Robertson and made a statement categorically disagreeing with him. Supposedly the network is considering dropping the show. Continue Reading