I frequently run interviews for my client projects.
Whether it’s with the client’s team or with their customers.
It’s probably the highest ROI research method and the only one where you can truly go deep and dig under the surface layers of people’s motivations, desires and fears.
Some people are talkers.
They just need an input, a spark and they go on and on and on. It’s hard to stop them and ask your questions sometimes.
Some other people are the one-word answer types.
Way harder to get the information you want.
But there are some lessons I learned along the way that I believe apply in general to having better conversations and connecting on a deeper level with anyone.
First is to become comfortable with silence. And this is the big one when it comes to getting non-chatty people to open up.
The reason is that silence is uncomfortable for almost anyone and even these guys would rather say something than sit with the void on a zoom call.
So what do I do? I ask my question and if they reply with one word or a short answer, I inquire with a “tell me more about it” or “what do you mean by that” and then I remain silent.
Even if the silence gets awkwardly long.
95% of the times they dig deeper.
And I noticed it’s the same in day-to-day conversations. I used to have the habit of finishing other people’s sentences, but I changed that and now I appreciate the slight discomfort of silence.
Asking a question once and doing it firmly makes you sound (and feel) more confident. Hence persuasive.
Another big lesson is the usefulness of adapting on the fly.
A good copywriter or interviewer in general should have their questions ready and a flow in mind, of course. But the skill of being able to follow the conversation and adjust the questions on the go, is invaluable.
You should moderate the conversation, yes, but you shouldn’t dictate how it goes.
You should allow it to naturally evolve.
To feel natural and to flow naturally.
This obviously requires some experience and lots of practice.
And it means you have to know exactly what you want to get out of the conversation.
But the person who can adapt on the fly is usually the most interesting person in the room.
I have dozen of interview scripts and specific questions for each type of interview I run.
If you need help collecting data (and using it), get in touch.