An interview about interviews with Drew Kozub
Drew Kozub has been front and center in Winnipeg media since 2011. First with Breakfast Television Winnipeg, and now with KiSS Mornings on 102.3 FM. If you mix in his 6 years as the in-Game Co-host for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. Then, basically he spends everyday talking to Winnipegers of all walks of life. So there are few people better suited to join us for an interview about interviews.
How do you prepare for an interview?
It starts before you start researching
There are two things that you wanna make sure that you’re thinking of right at the beginning, before you even start doing your research. First, what do you want to get out of the interview? And second, what is going to be the most interesting from the audience’s perspective?
Then think, “where can I go to find out that much about this person as possible?” Because the more that you know, the more it’s going to inform your questions. And give you a much more interesting interview.
What should be the goal of a good introduction?
Get to the point
I think this is where a lot of people go wrong. The temptation for new interviewers is to want to make a great Impression. You want to show this person that you were interviewing how much you know, how much research you have done. Then they end up using everything they researched in the introduction. Leaving nothing left for the interview. Instead, be brief and just try to focus on getting right into the interview as quickly as possible.
What do you think makes for a good interview?
Get away from the prepared answers
When somebody’s getting interviewed they have certain expectations and they have practiced responses to what they think you are going to ask. I think a good interview is one where you start deviating from those stock answers. Sport is a good example you’ll see athletes talking about the game and pretty much every single athlete has about the same answer. But sometimes I’ll find a little twist or a little bit of a different question. In a hockey game for example if something happened during the warm-up and then you can get the player to talk about that and they don’t have a practiced answer. Now you can get into their personality rather than their persona for the interview.
What are common mistakes that people should be aware of?
Asking good questions means being a good listener
The number one most common mistake is not listening. A lot of people come up with their long list of questions, they ask the question and they wait for the person to finish answering and they move onto the next question. That seems like a good idea, but you miss so much opportunity if you’re not listening carefully. If you ask your first question and while answering they say something that you weren’t expecting, that can be a really fun opportunity. That answer could lead to something brand new that you didn’t know, or maybe nobody knows, but if you’re not listening to those answers you could miss it. Be brave. Go away from your script.
What’s your advice for when you have to ask a difficult question?
A little respect goes a long way
I think that some people would disagree, but I think if you’re gonna be talking about a difficult subject I think that’s very fair to warn the guest ahead of time. In my opinion it shows that you have a rapport and are showing respect. I think they’re going to be more appreciative and give you more thoughtful responses. Whereas if you spring something on them, they might feel attacked. Then they are more likely to not answer at all. I think it’s only fair to give up your guest a heads up, so they can at least be prepared.
What do you do when an interview is going badly?
It can all be fixed in the editing suite
The most important thing to remember is that it’s all going to be edited afterwards. It may
feel terrible but just keep on going to get what you can on tape, and later you can still end up with something that could have value for your audience. Even if it may not feel like it at the time
What’s your advice for a podcaster?
Don’t just think about it, do it
I think it’s really important to figure out your niche, the thing that you really want to go after. I think a lot of podcasters try to go really broad in terms of subject matter, and end up with no one listening. If you are absolutely into Nintendo games that were released before 1995. You can go really deep and while there may not be a giant audience for that kind of podcast, the audience that is interested in those nintendo games is gonna absolutely love what you’re doing. So figure out your passion and just go for it. And don’t just plan it. Actually go for it. Start recording and actually get it out there. Because if it’s not out there no one can enjoy it. You can’t get better, you can’t build your audience, if you don’t get out there and do it.