Hank LongoGetting a good interview.
by Hank Longo
Here are two tips that I use to make interviews fun, informative, and engaging.
One of my favorite things to do is interview guests, hear their story, and hopefully get them to talk and not be afraid.
The first thing I do, if it’s the first time I’ve interviewed the guest, is tell him or her that this is going to be fun—just look at me and don’t pay any attention to the camera. Relax and feel comfortable—we are just going to have an enjoyable conversation.
The second thing I do is choose a good topic. As an interviewer, I know that there is always a topic you are going to discuss and that topic, 99 percent of the time, is one your guest is passionate about, so, after introducing the guest to my audience, I’ll get right into that topic: “So, Lindsey, you’re the Head Coach of the women’s volleyball team at Southeastern University; how did you get involved in the sport?” Once your guests start talking about their passion, it’s amazing how relaxed they become and how they love to talk about the topic.
During the conversation, if you listen and pay attention, what your guest is saying will provide you with gold nuggets for follow-up questions you can ask. For example: “So, as you observe the player formation of the other team, does that affect your team’s scoring strategy; volleyball is much more than randomly hitting the ball over the net, isn’t it?” The best questions are educational and provide the interviewee an opportunity to give more in-depth information: “Great question, Hank! Yes, how the other team aligns itself is very important to our game strategy. Here’s why….” A question like that will lead to more in-depth conversation and generate other questions and additional conversation that will make the interview fly by.
I had the honor of interviewing Desmond Clark before his induction into the 2017 Polk County Sports Hall of Fame. Des played for the Chicago Bears in the 2007 Super Bowl against Indianapolis (unfortunately the Bears lost). The first topic we talked about was Des’s passion for helping kids who are less fortunate. Des talked about the challenges and obstacles he faced in his youth, and how he overcame them to become an NFL football player. He was very humble and sincere in sharing a story that not many people knew about, but it was important to him and, by listening, we learned a lot more of the Desmond Clark story. And of course I had to ask the question: “What was it like playing in the Super Bowl and running out on the field with all the screaming fans and hoop-la?” Des replied, “It was overwhelming! Unbelievable!” “What was it like after the kickoff and your first contact?” “I focused on the game and blocked out all the surroundings and screaming fans and played the game.” Great stuff; how many times do you get to chat with someone who played in the Super Bowl? By the way, Des donated the shoes he wore in the Super Bowl to the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame. (That I designed and built…just a little plug.)
One of my all-time favorite interviews is one that I’ve had the privilege of doing for the past 13 years with Charles Barkley. Charles comes to Lakeland every year to play in the Barkley, Bean, Bryant & Friends Celebrity Golf Event to raise money for The First Tee of Lakeland, an international golf program “where youth and teens build strong character values of integrity, sportsmanship, responsibility, respect and confidence” through golf. It’s not a big tournament—300 or so people attend—which makes it more amazing. The reason Charles is gracious enough to do an interview with me each year is that I’m nice, I don’t ask National Enquirer questions, and he trusts me. I talk about the Charles Barkley we all need to know, the man who is so generous to these kids and has such a passion for young people: “Hank, I love the people in Lakeland who have been so great to me and extended such love and hospitality, Carol and Barney Barnett [owners of Publix] Andy Bean and Brad Bryant [PGA champions], and the city of Lakeland. I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to come here and help these kids; it’s the first date I put on my calendar every year.” This is the Charles Barkley that not a lot of people get to see; we’re friends, which is one of the things that makes this interview so special.
So, the ingredients of a great interview are simple: be friendly and do your homework, and you’ll have a fun and informative interview—every time!
Hank Longo is the host of PGTV’s “Polking around with Hank Longo” and co-host of “Sports Central.” Hank is the founder of the Announcers Committee for the American Water Ski Association and has been inducted into the Minnesota Water Ski Hall of Fame and the Florida Water Ski Hall of Fame, as well as the USA Water Ski Hall of Fame, as both a skier and an announcer.
Karen RoseBest of the Influence 2017 NSA Convention in Orlando, Florida
by Karen Rose & NSA-CF members
By far, Influence 2017 was one of the best NSA conventions I've attended.
Thank you Colleen and everyone involved with the welcome to Florida committee booth that we shared with the South Florida Chapter everyone appreciated our warm sunny welcome to Florida!
The brilliant co-chairs of Influence 2017, Christine Holton Cashen, CSP,CPAE and Michael Hoffman, CSP wove the love and kindness throughout every part of this convention. They started the convention with Sergeant Mark J. Lindquist, magnificently singing our National Anthem. Then they honored all of the...
International countries that were represented by Speakers attending the convention, showing each country's flag and continued to honor the global world we live in!
Every speaker on the main stage & all of the breakout speakers I heard shared an enormous amount of great content. Many emphasized and demonstrated the power of sharing our own personal stories, which has inspired me to dig deeper in writing more personal stories for my speeches.
Elaine Pasqua shared a wealth of tips for cold calling at the Power Women of NSA session. Some may not like this approach, but it has served her well as she broke into the college market and even helped her land some gigs with professional sport teams. The key is to be focused in who your audience is, and what you have to offer them. Do your homework to know about the client needs and info about their organization. Re-evaluate what's going on in the world and adjust your message. Be relevant, consider what makes you different from other speakers that would interest your potential clients and share your expertise.
Emmanuel Kelly asked us, "What energy do I give to the world?" "People care about what's in my heart. Learn to love yourself, and dream big!"
Yasmin Abdel-Magied spoke to us about our unconscious bias. She reminded us that there is magic in looking past what we originally expect. Tap into empathy and human connection through storytelling.
Vinh Giang reminded us that Mindset is everything. Failure isn't a destination, its just a detour. Influence is one of the most powerful forces of life. You become the sum of the top 5 people that you spend the most time with. Be generous and kind. Always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting.
Kindra Hall spoke about the importance of storytelling with lots of great examples. Humans are attracted to stories. Stories are memorable. A story is a moment, has a beginning, middle and end, has emotion, has a character that we care about and something is at stake. Tell stories with photos. Share stories in your presentations, in blogs, emails, newsletters, video and social media.
David Horsager, CSP spoke about the importance of Building Trust. Everything of value is built on trust. A confident belief in trust increases more ideas to share and profits increase. At the core of everything is a trust issue. Lack of trust is the biggest expense we have, it costs time, stress and burnout. Trust is earned. Don't trust a blamer. Pillars of trust include, clarity, compassion, character-do what's right - isn't necessarily easy, competency, commitment, connection, contribution, consistency. We trust those who stand in the face of adversity. Make and keep commitments. Little things done consistently is what makes the biggest difference. Every interaction we trust someone a little more or less.
New NSA President Brian Walter gave us his un-theme, since NSA isn't really creating themes any more, LOL, is WSLTC- Want Something (for yourself and others-vital for NSA Chapter Business) and Leverage the Community. Connect with a speaker coming to your town. Ask a speaker if the things you are doing are bold enough for you. Challenge yourself to tune it up. Serve and don't keep score.
Patrick Henry, CSP Becoming Re-memorable. A keynote is when you inspire to ask questions. A breakout session you answer questions. Share your legacy, as Patrick did ending his speech with a clip from his father's speech- the legendary Robert Henry. Be re-memorable.
Mark J. Lindquist, yes, the same multi-talented person who opened the convention singing the National Anthem had a packed room for his breakout session Zero to 250k in 3 years. This was so much more than that. He shared 10 minutes of his story with photos demonstrating why he gets booked often. He said " telling my story is like a pilot of a TV show, vital for capturing the audience's interest." He asked us if we are taking our audiences from sitting their with their arms crossed to leaning forward to hear what we have to say and inspiring them and keeping them from wanting to stare down at their phone. Everything we do matters- from setting up the room, to the lighting, music & our intro, we must win them over 5 minutes at a time.
Geeta Nadkarni- Baby Got Booked: Gain Exposure, Build Credibility, Charge More. Geeta suggests that we could build our audience by borrowing them from the media that already has a built in audience waiting to hear our message. Do your research for which media outlets would benefit from your expertise. Know who you are pitching to. Give the reporter fresh ways to share your content. Remember, it's not about you, it's about the media and their audience needs. She reminded us that we are one pitch away from everything we want to make our dreams come true.
Lynn Rose- You have the power to WOW! Connection is everything. Lead with connection, then content follows with conversation and a contract. Loosen up before you are on camera or on stage. Speak means Smile when you talk, Play with how you say it, Energy when you speak, Authentically amplify and Know who you are- what honors me and who I am. Vulnerability is power.
Best of the convention shared by NSA-CF members:
"Make your emails to clients shorter. Very short. Depending on your market, over 50% of your now opened on Smartphones. Very little space, and very little time to grab their attention!" - Shared by Andy Masters.
"Words have never been enough. Powerpoint has the potential to be powerful and memorable when done creatively." Shared by Colleen Hare Sweeney
"Jeannie Robertson ended her fabulous session by proposing giving punch lines to others in the story because the speaker can't have all the good lines. Brilliant! "- Shared by Katie Nall and Andy Masters agreed this was a key nugget.
"Another option on LinkedIn, you can view a persons's profile, periodically and over time (without connecting) to be visible (i.e For a meeting planner) instead of making the connection and pitching what you do. Another strategy to stay in front of them and visible." - Shared by Debbie Peterson.
"The biggest take-away for me was the importance and impact of personal stories from the heart. Although Kindra Hall actually focused on this topic, it was woven through many of the keynotes, including outgoing President Dr. John B. Molidor, PhD, CSP remarks about the importance of heart. I am great on content but I need to weave my personal stories into that content to make it memorable. I learned a lot at Influence 2017 that will help me become more of a storyteller." - Shared by Sally Mizerak.
The perfect end to a magical convention in Orlando was shared at Epcot, which was walking distance from our hotel. We enjoyed a few hours walking around Epcot, then we were treated to a delicious dessert reception, then lead to a private area to enjoy the fireworks! WOW!
Influence 2017 is now in the memory books and we're all busy implementing what we learned into our business.
Influence 2018 will be July 14-17 in Dallas, Texas, it's not too early to plan to be there!