Input planned – speaker invited? Go for an interview!

October 14, 2015 | Carmen Eckert | Methods & Tools, SDC Experiences |


Rating: 4.6 out of 5

There are alternatives to the over-used format of PowerPoint presentation followed by Q&A and discussion. Making an interview with the (guest) speaker is an interesting and easy to realize option. All it needs is curiosity and openness from the side of the interviewer and interviewee; and a bit of preparation.

Barbara Affolter, Anne Moulin, Carmen Eckert and Nadia von Holzen, SDC

Impressions from a “demo”

Let’s start with a small sample of an interview: On a Lunch & Learn event at SDC (an interactive micro learning format over lunch at SDC) Anne was interviewed as an expert on poverty and Carmen participated as a listener to the interview. How did they experience the interview in their respective roles?



Barbara moderated the event. Hear where she sees the added value of interviews and what points she observes during the preparation:



Using interviews at events allows for a richer and effective experience for all involved. As Barbara highlighted in her statement above a good preparation is essential. But there are also tips & tricks to observe during the dialogue:

  • Prepare a short interview guideline; make it rather rough leaving enough openness to interact with the interviewee and the audience. Though be clear about the key message you want to bring across.
  • Start with the presentation of the interviewee, make it as short as possible and as long as necessary depending on the interest of the audience.
  • Be in touch with the audience right from the beginning, listen and “sense” what is going on and how the atmosphere develops. Do they need additional information? Do they long for a good story?
  • Allow for questions from the audience to interrupt the interview. Make them engage in the interview by asking questions, by adding thoughts to your questions.
  • Provoke concrete statements
  • If necessary interrupt the train of thoughts of the interviewee. If he or she gets too lengthy help him with a question, a prompt to get back on track.
  • Prepare eventually few visuals – this can be by PowerPoint. Make sure that the projector is off when you don’t need the slide any longer.
  • Also handout might be useful depending on the topic, context and purpose.
  • Support the interviewee. Some people might be more guidance in form of stimulating questions or key words than others.

Try it out

Next time you are invited yourself to give a presentation suggest to the organizer the interview format.

Have you played with the interview format? What is your experience?


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Comments to“Input planned – speaker invited? Go for an interview!”

  1. Dear Carmen
    I see you use sound cloud to host your interviews. If this tool is to be used frequently at SDC, it would be interesting to explore the possibility of a SDC internal podcast. This would make it easy for colleagues to find and listen to newly created content.

    I also like the fact, that you have linked an image to your audio file. I find this important to draw attention to the interview.

  2. Thanks for your valuable input, Hynek! Indeed we are exploring the possibilities of audio podcasts and it would definitely make sense to have a place where they would all be accessible. I like the appearance of Soundcloud – the combination of image and sound is great and also it allows for interaction: you can post your comments inside the audio stream! It’s really fun to use :)


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