At the end of every interview I do, I ask a ridiculously simple question that has proven to be a goldmine of insights, quotes, and human connection. Many an article has been built around the response.
What is this magical question? The simplicity of it may surprise you. After I’ve finished up my questions and followed up on any interesting threads they started, I say, “Well, that’s all I have for you. Is there anything you’d like to add? Anything you want to make sure I know?”
That’s it. No big deal, right? But it’s like a friendly invitation to share whatever else is on their mind.
Sometimes the interview subject will say, “No, I think we’ve covered it,” or “Just make sure to say that I’m performing on the 12th,” or whatever. This is fine. But many times, the question opens up an entirely different aspect of the topic you’re discussing.
The response can start slowly, like, “Well, I’m not sure it’s interesting,” and then quickly proceed into a super-interesting tidbit such as, “But the last time we performed in Santa Cruz, I found the best bucket drum ever and it completely transformed the sound of our band.”
This is pure gold! Of course it’s interesting. Of course we want to know about it. We love your band and we love Santa Cruz and you just told us that we somehow had a transformative effect on you and your sound.
Or, they might expand on a little-known or forthcoming aspect of their nonprofit or business saying, “This won’t be officially announced until tomorrow, but we’re launching a new project to connect people with extra food to hungry neighbors.”
Again, gold. You couldn’t have known about that and now you’re going to be among the first to write about it. This is a good thing!
These are just a couple of examples to illustrate the hidden potential lying just below the surface of your interviews, and this simple question is a good way to draw it out.
Give it a shot. Next time you’re interviewing someone, ask them what they’d like to add, or if there’s anything they want to make sure you know. You might get a sweet bit of info or an article-making quote.
Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear if you get any great material for your article.
Photo: Roger H. Goun (CC-BY-20)