General Guidelines for Interviewees

Here are some tips to make the interview go more smoothly and relaxed, resulting in a better quality recording.

  1. Review the talking points. These will be provided to you in advance. You might want to discuss these with a friend the day before we arrive and make notes about specific things you want to mention. PLEASE do not script your answers, because the phrasing of the question may change, and it prevents the interview from being authentic. Generally, we offer 5 talking points, and choose 3 from that list.
  2. Wear loose clothing that does not make noise. Check for fabrics that rustle or have slick finishes. Leather can also be quite noisy, unless it’s part of the character of your interview. (Ie. leather on horse tack, etc.) A t-shirt or soft sweaters and jeans are best.
  3. Please oil your chair. We use broadcast-quality headphones with microphones that will only pickup sound a limited distance from the microphone, but it’s best to be safe. A leather or vinyl chair, or one with squeaky parts, can sometimes be heard in the recording. Perhaps take a few minutes in advance to choose a spot where this won’t be an issue.
  4. Do not wear a collar. The interview is conducted on headsets with microphones that come out from approximately the area of your ear, and extend to your chin. This means that collars often interfere with the microphone and bump it, causing noise that cannot be removed. Please let us know in advance if you have a large beard, as that may also interfere with microphone position.
  5. Have a cup of warm water (not hot or cold) on hand to clear your throat if needed. Some prefer to add lemon juice to the water to cut the “ick” in your throat when speaking for long periods of time.
  6. Do not take throat drops or lozenges. The sugar or other ingredients are often meant to increase salivation and therefore might interfere with speech. Also, if you have a cough or are ill, let’s postpone. Coughing or sneezing will make the recording unusable. We can always do this later.
  7. Practice eliminating the word “um” from your vocabulary. The conversation needs to have a tight pace, and unneccessary words or conjunctions like “and”, “but”, and so on will make it slow and uninteresting.
  8. Remember your audience. The first rule of content is to know the needs and likes/dislikes/culture of the audience. This focus helps to keep us on track and avoid “conversational side roads”.
  9. Have a light snack. Growling stomachs can be heard on air, but a large meal may cause other issues. A bit of fruit and protein will prevent either.
  10. Please be prepared to turn off your phone, lock up the dogs, arrange for child care, etc.
  11. Make a photo list. Please indicate specific areas of interest you might want to highlight, and we’ll add them to the photos we take that day.