Sunday, November 20, 2011

the "I" in Interview

As Walter Isaacson went on the talk show circuit the past couple of weeks promoting his latest book, Steve Jobs, I happened to catch him on Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN. After a few moments, my intellectual taste buds tasted something sour -  The word "I".

What do you mean, you may ask?

Several years ago, Larry King was being interviewed and when asked how he's been so successful or what does he contribute his success to, his response was quite enlightening.

I'm paraphrasing here, but it went something like this:   A good interviewer never becomes part of the story. People want to know or listen to who the interviewer is questioning, not the interviewer themselves. When the questioner states, I read where...or I feel..or I did this/saw, making some reference to themselves, they become a part of the story. It comes back to them.

If you were to review his interviews, King rarely if ever, mentions himself in an interview.  Keeps his questions short and succinct and listens, letting the subject speak, because thats the purpose of the interview, hearing what the subject has to say.

So, as I watched Piers Morgan interview Isaacson, I couldn't help myself but count the word "I" over forty times and it wasn't in reference to iPad, iPod, iTunes, but to Piers himself, at times interrupting Isaacson to read a passage of Isaacson book while at other times, speaking more than Isaacson.   Piers Morgan will never be Larry King. Nor will Matt Lauer who routinely makes the story about him.  When watching these types of talk shows, I find myself yelling out loud, " But , it's not about you though, is it. Shut up and let the person speak!"

To whomever invented the mute button on a TV remote, thank you.

Listening is becoming more of an art form than speaking!

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