Interviewing for Introverts: 5 Tips

Because of The Black Girl Project, I’ve fielded requests for interviews. Of course I agree. I want to get as much publicity for the film and organization as I can. However, in the initial phases, this was quite difficult. Those who know me and have seen me in action, know that I light up in front of a group/audience. If you’ve ever seen me teach, then you know what I mean.

It’s different, though, when you are talking about yourself and not regaling about the horror of incomplete and run-on sentences to your English class. It’s also a lot easier if your first interviews are where someone sends you questions and you answer via email. For those, just be thoughtful and answer truthfully.

It’s a whole new ballgame when it comes to camera. Below is my first on-camera interview. I say “um” a lot. I also go off on tangents. For a first effort, it’s OK.

I should probably should say that this was 30 minutes prior to the premiere of the film. Luckily I knew the person interviewing me, so I wasn’t as nervous as I could have been. I’m preparing for my next on-camera interview and for those of you who are venturing out, here are some tips:

1. Try to be concise. I’m not saying have yes/no answers, but boil down why you need to say to its essence. No need for flowery language, just get it out!

2. Be accurate! I’ve seen interviews where folks have misstated facts and figures or given out the wrong web address or phone number. Please don’t do that.

3. Stay on the offense, not defense. Anticipate difficult or even boring questions and answer them as though you are grateful, and you should be! You may wind up answering the same questions repeatedly, but think of how many new people get to hear your message and they deserve to hear it as fresh as the first time.

4. Promote! Make sure you repeat your project, film, website or business address in the interview. Don’t strongarm it, but mention these things where appropriate. I could have said 2 or 3 times in that interview, but I didn’t.

5. Be yourself. If you are trying to “put on airs” like my Nana would say, it will come through and folks will identify you as a phony and get turned off. Let you shine through.

Hope these help! I’ll post my next interview when it is available!