AskPat 763 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everyone? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 763 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
All right, now here's today's question from Jason.
Jason: Good day, Pat. Jason here from Melbourne, Australia. I blog at DigitalToolsoftheTrade.com. My question for you is how do you determine what questions you ask when you are interviewing someone? Say, for example, on the podcast or on a YouTube video? Thanks for listening Pat. I hope you have a great day.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Jason. Thank you so much for the question. I love this question because a lot of people are doing interviews on podcasts and videos, and it's so important to be able to ask the right questions. A lot of people think doing interviews is really easy because you just let the other person talk but in order to get that other person to talk and say the right things you need to ask the right questions.
Now, it might sound weird that I said, “You want them to say the right things.” But you kind of want to go into an interview. . . and this is the first tip. You go into an interview, any interview of any kind, understanding what it is that you want to get out of it. You want to know from your audience's perspective what is the transformation that they deserve after you interview this person. And when you think about the transformation it's just kind of a fancy way to say, “Oh. Well, what's the purpose of interviewing this person,” which is a good thing to think about.
But in order to make sure that you are always thinking about the audience first, thinking about the transformation so they go into that interview thinking one way and they come out thinking another. And there is a number of different things that you can do during that interview to get those amazing stories and things out that can help support that transformation. But that transformation is going to support what questions that you ask.
I hardly ever go into an interview personally. . .I know a lot of people do this differently, but again, you asked how I did it. So, I'm going to share how I do it . . . I hardly every go into an interview with a list of questions. I don't want to be tied down to a list of questions. Now, I do have, like I said, that transformation in mind. And sometimes I'll have key bullet points in front of me in a Post-It note or something on a screen or on a notepad or something that allows me to understand, “What's the road map that I want to take?” But again, that road map reflects the transformation that I want people to have based on what I know about this person, their expertise, and where I know my audience is relative to that topic. So, that's the first thing.
Now, there is a number of different questions you can ask, sort of, everybody that work really well for interviews. One of the best things to do in an interview is to pull out a question, excuse me, pull out a story. So, you ask a question that is phrased in a way that will allow a person to tell a story. When a person tells a story they put their emotions behind it. They reveal a specific event that a person on the other end listening will much easier relate to that content. So, pulling out stories is great.
One question that I learned from Alex Blumberg, from the podcast StartUp, that you can always ask somebody is, “Well, tell me about a time when blank.” And obviously fill in the blank with whatever topic or thing that they're talking about. But when you say that it really opens up the box for the person on the other end and allows them to, again, feel comfortable because when you tell stories . . . like when you tell stories in person to a friend about something that has happened, whether it's something a long time ago or very recent, it's just something natural that comes out. And the more natural a person feels the better the story will be.
Now, here's the other thing. You also want to dig deeper. And that's another mindset thing that as an interviewer you should have. You always want to, hopefully, dig deeper. And what I mean is, often times when you ask a question about a particular topic . . . And again, I don't come in with a pre-determined set of questions. I just have a pre-determined set of things that I want this person to talk about and then the questions kind of come naturally because I have conversations with people in very natural way. As if we are a coffee together and those who are listening on the show are just a fly on the wall listening. And that's the approach that I take.
But, often times when you ask questions and people answer you get the sort of surface level or level one answer. You want to shoot for three, four, or five levels deep. And what I mean is after a person asks a question you continue to have that conversation about that topic instead of moving on to the next question. You then say, “Oh, how come you felt like that?” That question alone can be an amazing opener for a story to come out. For true rooted feelings to surface. To get to the deep down “Why” behind a story. That's where the gold . . .that's absolutely where the gold is.
So, again, just approaching it as if you are having a natural conversation with somebody with in mind what that transformations gonna be. That helps you alone determine what questions you should ask. And I never, like I said, write down what I want those questions to be beforehand. They just come out knowing where I want people to go . . .what I want people to get out of the conversation.
So, Jason, hopefully that helps you and guides you a little bit. And again, that one question is very, very helpful. It's the, “Tell me about a time when you interviewed somebody and you didn't know what question to ask.” Oh, my gosh. You're gonna to get an example. You're gonna get laughter or sadness or happiness or whatever. So, that's a question you should definitely ask but beyond that have it come naturally and dig deeper, always.
So, Jason, thank you so much for the question. I appreciate you and I want to wish you all the best. I want to send you, also, an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show so you'll hear from my assistant in the next month or so and we'll collect your information to send that to you free of charge because your question was awesome.
And for those of you listening, if you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show just head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page.
Thanks so much! I appreciate you and like I said earlier, “Keep rocking it.” We are almost at the end of the year so keep going strong and I look forward to serving you in the next episodes here at the end of the year and all throughout 2017 as well where we will be surpassing episode 1,000 at some point next year, which is going to be crazy awesome.
But anyway, here's a quote to finish off the day by Thomas Edison. He said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” So, stop dressing in overalls everybody. Stop doing things that look like work and grab onto those opportunities that are right there in front of you.
Take care and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.