A great interviewer is a rare and wonderful thing

Corporate interviews can be fun to watch, or the most mind-numbing, torturous media ever created. We’ve all sat through countless meetings or suffered endless videos where a nervous, stumbling company representative is interviewed by someone robotically reading questions off a card, in written order, regardless of the flow of conversation. Or monotone tech experts sweating into the camera as the host stares blankly with no idea who they’re talking to or what they’re talking about.

Steve has interviewed some of the most powerful c-level executives in the world at trade show and on broadcast media

SKM Creative’s Steve Multer interviews John Chambers, President & CEO of Cisco

Avoid these pitfalls. Hire an interviewer who knows and cares about your industry, with the expertise and strength to get the most from your executives while putting them at ease so everyone enjoys the experience and the final product.

Interviews should flow like choreographed performances

Interviews, at any level, are a dance, with a leader and follower who either work in beautiful synch or step on each others toes before falling to the ground. When both parties are in step it’s smooth, joyful, and engaging. When these partners are out of synch, things get downright unpleasant.

It’s a rare interviewer who can effectively guide your product designer or sales person through the steps, let alone make your director or C-level executive glide like a swan.On the other side of the conversation, it’s a rare employee who displays natural energy and enthusiasm in front of a camera or live audience; they need support and a qualified partner to make them perform at their peak potential.

Think of talk shows and the interview styles of your favorite hosts; Carson, Letterman, Walters, Winfrey, Degeneres, Colbert, each with their own method of listening, adjusting, constantly angling to discover the perfect balance with each unique guest and to make the most of every conversation. Some guests are better and some worse, but the best host will make every interaction a success. It’s the same in your trade show booth, break-out session, keynote, or in your on-camera media assets. A good interview is a powerful marketing tool, while a dull interview might just as well never have happened. It all comes down to your host, the only element you can control.

What makes a great corporate interview?

Your executives and product experts come in many levels of natural ability; some are adept speakers and others can barely form a cohesive sentence. Giving your C-level VP or mid-market manager the best host to partner with and conduct their interview puts your people at ease, makes them feel more confident, and improves their performance. So what makes a great corporate interviewer? How do you find the best option for you and your next event?

Begin by looking for three vital qualifiers in any specialist you bring on board to support your event or broadcast.

1. Experience

Conducting a corporate interview takes skill and understanding, of your guest, your industry, your product, and your format. You’ll always win with a seasoned, dedicated professional offering years of experience plus the knowledge and confidence to connect on a personal level with your leadership and front-line development and design teams.

Ask your vendor (or the agency hired to supply you with this important asset) about the host’s time in the field, the people they’ve interviewed, and to see lots of examples of their work. The best pros offer multiple video assets proving their strength in action, displaying equal skill and comfort with all levels of interviewees from man-on-the-street to the most powerful executives on the planet. Demand the best.

2. Specialization

Look for an event or on-camera interview host who delivers interviewing as a specialty in their resume. You want and need an expert immersed in and comfortable with corporate environments and executive-level conversations in order to achieve the great content you and your executives are after.

The average news anchor or theme park host isn’t suited to a meaningful, engaging interview with your VP of Sales or Director of Partner Marketing. A YouTube influencer might have lots of followers, but they’re likely more interested in their own image than in your interviewee’s comfort or your brand’s success. Only the most experienced host dedicated to corporate trade shows, meetings, and conferences can put best practices into play so that you and your audience get the impact and success from each interview everyone is hoping (and paying) for.

3. Credibility

Does your host interviewer understand your company, your product, your solution, and the culture of your brand? If the answer is no, you’ve got the wrong person on your team.

Steve Multer interviews Cadence customers at Design Automation Conference (DAC) in Anaheim

Expert interviewers make one-on-ones or even panel discussions engaging

Credibility is paramount to making your interview come alive; your host has to understand the conversation in order to take part in it. Anyone can ask questions then listen to answers, but it takes an expert to achieve balance during the interview, so both people are sharing ideas and enthusiasm in a smooth, comfortable, knowledgeable flow that creates the most engaging exchange.

Interview your interviewer. Discover how they create connections with their guests. Ask how they’ll work in partnership with your executives to make them look their best. Ask how the interviewer will make the conversation meaningful to your audience or prospective customers. A good host does their homework and brings savvy to the table, a value everyone will see, hear, and appreciate.


Have a question? Ask SKM Creative.

SKM Creative is on trade show floors worldwide 30-60 times throughout the year. We’ve served the world’s top brands and multinationals for over 15 years, providing the best trade show and event spokespeople, ambassadors, crowd gatherers, and product demonstrators to savvy marketing managers in the US and around the world. Even if you use another agency’s services, call us anytime with questions or ideas – we’re here to help!