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Three Communication Lessons from Oprah’s interview with Meghan & Harry

by | Mar 9, 2021 | 6 comments

Stop. Before you click ‘delete’ while thinking “enough” about the Royal Couple’s drama, read these actionable approaches used by The Venerable Interviewer about how you can conduct your own critical interviews and conversations.

Give it some time. Oprah’s almost 2-hours with Meghan and Harry “really showed the power of the long-format interview, which is almost totally gone from TV nowadays,” THR’s Alex Weprin commented.

Your current paradox – while your attention span has shrunk even more during the pandemic, crucial conversations take time. Tighter segmentation of your schedules could be a detriment to all concerned. Your challenge – prioritizing your schedule to allow for time elasticity around critical issues.

Go three-deep on questions. “Oprah best displayed her interviewing chops by relentlessly circling back to emotional or news making comments like a heat-seeking missile,” WaPo’s Margaret Sullivan wrote.

When you lead/facilitate discussions go three-deep, like Oprah did. Ask your first question, then follow up with another and then one more. Your net gain – deeper and more complex understanding. Example:

  • Q – Dentist asks, “How do you feel about doing this dental implant?”
  • A – “I have some concerns.”
  • Q – “What are your concerns?”
  • A – “The pain involved.”
  • Q – “Have you had some negative prior experiences with pain caused by dentistry?”
  • A – “Yes – vivid childhood memories …”

Follow-up questions make all the difference.

Provide a hook. Winfrey announced at the end of the broadcast that additional clips would air the following day at “CBS This Morning”. There’s more to come!

When you give a presentation give your audience a reason to want to continue to listen to you in the future. When you have crucial conversations, it’s not so much a hook… rather it’s an open door. You never know how you might want to revisit issues down the road. Either way, presentation or conversation, give yourself the option to provide next steps, give direction, create momentum.

Congrats to Oprah. We can all learn from her.

Source: Thanks to @AppellateLitigator for sharing this source material with me –  https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/08/media/harry-meghan-oprah-reliable-sources/index.html

© 2021 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

© 123RF Stock Photo

Karen Cortell Reisman book on sellingKaren Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 2 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, #AlbertEinstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.

Want a customized Speak For Yourself® virtual workshop on how to communicate formally, informally, and electronically?

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  1. Roger

    Finally! – something useful said about this interview. I’ll work on 3-deep interviewing in ALL my conversations.

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Thanks Roger! We can all learn from Oprah about how to ask questions and how to listen form effectively. Your feedback is appreciated.

  2. Harry Hall

    Give your audience a reason to listen to you again. Great tip. Thanks, Karen.

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Harry – thanks! Yes… you want to leave every pitch or presentation with a reason to return.

  3. Patricia (Patti) DeNucci

    Hello Karen! Love this 3 Deep technique! Works for conversations too!

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Thanks Patti. Yes, asking questions going “3 deep” nets a much more interesting conversation.

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