Lesson #6: The Interview
Preparing for an interview is one of the most important things a director can do. You do not want to go on stage without preparing correctly. Even though the speaker comes unprepared and it is a relaxed event, you still need to ensure that you are prepared. Research the speaker thoroughly, everything from their history, achievements, and personality, to what they are an expert in. Give them a chance to tell people what they’re working on currently.
A few basics
Knowing the speaker's personality is very important as it really decides in what mood and direction an interview can go in. One fantastic way to achieve this is to try to set up a meeting before the interview. Coffee or lunch works well or you can meet them at their office.You are free to conduct the interview however you would like but we have a basic structure that tends to work well
Background of the speaker => Experience/hardship getting the company up => Industry insights and local opportunities
Remember, your job is to help them tell their REAL story... not the pretty version that belongs in Forbes, but the one where things went wrong and they found their way through. That is the story and educates and inspires the audience.
General Interview Template
Download and read this 2 page document, to help you with the interview format: General Interview Template
And, for more tips and ideas check out the entire interview section of our help library: http://help.startupgrind.com/category/71-the-interview
After your food and friends time you want to jump up on stage and kick the event off!
Welcome everyone to the event and explain a little about yourself and what you do, then go into a little about how that led into Startup Grind. Take a moment to recognize your team and sponsors, too (or wait until the end).
Next you will go into a short intro of the speaker before inviting them on stage. This is important because we want to make sure the speaker gets a proper Startup Grind welcome! As the speaker is walking up to the stage have everyone stand up, clap and cheer (say "get up on your feet and join me in giving our special guest a warm Startup Grind welcome!!!"). This shows the speaker we appreciate their time and sets the tone for networking later among entrepreneurs.
During the interview it is important to try and keep it flowing and interesting. Studying your speaker, preparing questions, and listening helps tremendously. If it can go in a more interesting direction, take it there and dig deeper.
As the interview comes to a close open it up for Q&A depending on how much time is left over from the interview. Remember to encourage actual questions and not pitches.
Ending the event with a thank you to not only the speaker but awesome volunteers, sponsors, and friends (all by name) who make it possible is encouraged. After that encourage people to continue to network, pointing out a few interesting people who are working on cool projects is a great way to kick it off.