The 4 Most Reliable Tele-Interview Questions

Kolb Post1Whenever I conduct a Teleseminar interview with a thought leader in my area of interest, I often lean on the four learning styles that researcher David Kolb discovered in the 1980s.

Your listening audiences typically fit into four distinct learning styles Kolb uncovered and they are: WHY learners, WHAT learners, HOW learners and WHAT IF learners.

Which of the four learning styles do you feel that you fit into?

Regardless of your learning style, I believe anyone can become a great interviewer if they focus on what Kolb’s findings over 20 years ago.

To make it easy for you, here’s the questioning sequence template I utilize in my own interview that is a trusted friend to inoculate me from embarrassment or and criticism from blowing an interview:

  1. WHY is (TOPIC) so important for our audience to learn more about?

  2. WHAT is (TOPIC) by definition?

  3. HOW does (TOPIC) work in a step-by-step process?

  4. WHAT IF our listeners utilized the strategies you are teaching us about (TOPIC), what would their live be like in 30 days, 90 days, 1 year?

Just fill-in your topic of interest where you see “TOPIC” above and you’re good to go!

You can also ask questions about obstacles or strategies or questions that are specifically relevant to your topic and audience. But the four questions you can’t live without are the WHY, WHAT, HOW and WHAT IF questions.

I consider them my four most trusted servants to extracting the nectar from the fruit of any of my Tele-Interviews.

Although I don’t get caught-up with the percentage breakdowns of each learning style, I do follow a certain sequence based on what I believe to be their attention levels.

Fair Warning: I have no scientific evidence that support my next recommendation, other than my intuition derived from conducting over 1,200 Tele-Interviews in 15 years.

My experience tells me the correct sequence of questions are: WHY, WHAT, HOW, WHAT IF.

The sequence I utilize is counter-intuitive because most other interviewers, including Larry King, Barbara Walters and Oprah will typically ask the “WHAT” question first.

But I choose to ask the “WHY” question first because my experience has taught me that WHY learners are the least patient and tolerant of the four types of listeners.

I know lots of WHY learners and I find them to be easily distracted.  Auditory stimuli and bright, shiny objects easily sway their attention away so it’s critical to focus your interview on them first.

Next come the WHAT learners in the interview sequence and then the HOW learners, followed closely by the WHAT IF learners, which is what I believe I am :-)

Again, I can’t scientifically substantiate the sequencing recommendation above, but the Tele-Interview rave reviews I get from my students and colleagues support that my sequence is spot-on.

What To Do Now: Give me your comment about this post. Do you agree or disagree with my  recommendation?

When you’re done commenting, I want you to create a questionnaire template for your next interview, no matter what communication medium you choose to utilize – Teleseminar, radio, TV, hot seat on-state, face-to-face or whatever.

Practice it.  Utilize it. Learn from it and you’ll find that your interview style will evolve from good to great.

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