November 24th, 2015


Somebody . . .

. . . needs to add that to the Radio Interviewing merit badge handbook: Ask a question and let the interviewee answer. You needn't present the interviewee with a multiple-choice question with five one-minute-long answer scenarios to choose from. By the time you get the last one out in mind-numbing detail, they won't remember the first two anyway---nor will the audience.

There was a famous interview of Anwar Sadat by Barbara Walters in which she did exactly that. It must have taken her two full minutes (or more) to set up and pose this long, long, convoluted, multiple-choice question to which Sadat replied, "No."

There was someone on Mormon Stories recently (I wish I could remember who now) who was really good at shutting Dehlin down on the four part multiple-choice questions. The interviewee would simply say, following a three minute-long question, "E. None of the above."

Dehlin is by far NOT the only one who does this. I hear it on podcasts and radio and TV interviews ALL the time. I think it's indicative of someone who would really rather be interviewing themselves. The audience, however, came to hear the interviewee.

The most interesting questions are the ones you can't imagine the answers to. So don't try.