Silence is Golden
A few seconds can seem like forever when you’re in the middle of an interview and your guest stops talking (or doesn’t respond in the first place).
Should this happen to you, and it happens to all of us from time to time, resist the urge to be the one to break that silence.
Let it ride—this is what will get you the best responses.
It can be uncomfortable to ask a question and be met with silence, but trust that your guest can handle this discomfort. Resist your own discomfort to feel the need to “rescue” a guest.
If the guest doesn’t want to answer a question, he’ll let you know.
Nervous? Think you might be the first to break? Try this …
Before I start an interview, I let my guest know that I’m going to ask what I want and that it’s up to them whether they want to answer it.
Here’s an example from my pre-interview chat with Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl, where I explain my process …
Letting people know what to expect when working with you will help both you and them to do what you need to get a great episode.
Silence can be helpful. It can allow guests to think about their thoughts, delve deeper into a subject, or bring up new points they hadn't initially considered. This can lead to more insightful, authentic conversations, as guests often reveal more than you might have had otherwise.
Be patient and trust that guests will handle any discomfort that comes from silence during your interviews with them.