A 2-person interview is a video where a host and a guest have a conversation on camera. If the best conversations are the ones that are natural and unstaged, what should you really be planning?

There are good reasons why and how you should plan your video, for example so that you can run an efficient shoot. So, for optimal results, consider these best practices on how to plan and film a 2-person interview.

VARIANTS of the 2-person video interview:

  • Host + guest expert videos
  • Thought leadership videos
  • Get to know videos
  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Business updates

Here's a great example of a 2-person interview made by Shootsta:

The 2-person interview structure

To plan out the ideal 2-Person Interview, you’ll need a:

The basic structure of a 2-person interview consists of 4 main parts: Introduction, Questions & Answers, a Conclusion, and a CTA. In addition, you’ll want to capture relevant cutaways.

1. Introduction

The introduction in a 2-person interview is delivered by the host. Like in any video, the introduction is where you grab and keep your audience’s attention. Let’s breakdown what that looks like for a 2-Person Interview:

  • Within 3 seconds, grab attention: Start with a bold statement or a provocative question to engage the audience’s interest. This is delivered by the host directly into the camera, addressing the audience.

e.g. “Everything you know about money is wrong.”

e.g. “The way we plan our projects is about to change. ”

  • Within the first 10 seconds, set the scene: The host introduces themselves and the guest into camera, and establishes the topic. Keep it short and to the point.

e.g. “Hi, I’m Jane. I’m the CEO of Example Business, and I’m here today with Jen from Another Business. We’re going to talk  about how she has grown her market share 200% in six months. Welcome, Jen!

  • Within the first 30 seconds, the host asks the first question. Formulate the host’s first question to elicit a response from your guest that will give your audience a clear understanding of the key focus of this conversation. 

e.g. “Jen, tell us: what is your secret? Or was it just pure luck?"

2. Questions and Answers

The questions and answers part make up the body of your video. So, for best results your questions need to be well formulated. Here are some things to consider:

Questions (host)

  • Use open questions and avoid closed questions that might trigger a “yes” or  “no”.

e.g. closed question: Q: “Do you like working here?” - A: “Yes.”

e.g. open question: Q: “What is it like to work here?” - A: “It’s great to work here! I love the culture and the people.”

  • Plan your question based on your desired answer as some questions can lead to subjective or objective responses:

e.g. Q: “How is the weather today?” - A: “It’s clear and windy.” (Objective)

e.g. Q: “How are you finding the weather today?” - A: “It’s terrible. The wind nearly blew me away.” (Subjective)

If you know what answer and keywords you’re after, make sure to steer your question in that direction.

e.g. Q: “What is it like to work here?” versus Q: “What is it like to work here as a graduate?”

  • Keep your questions short and clear by splitting out larger ones using follow up questions.

e.g. Q: “Can you tell me a little more about how that works?” 

e.g. Q: “And what happened after that?

  • List your questions chronologically and make sure they’re in a logical order, following the structure of the video.

Answers (guest)

  • Keep your interviewee’s answers unscripted so your interview feels natural and authentic. In your planning, just list a few key talking points of things to capture.
  • Send the questions in advance to the guest so they have a chance to order their thoughts. 

So how many questions and answers should you include? On average it takes about 15 seconds to formulate an answer to a single question. More complex topics might take a little longer to explain. In general, people respond best to videos that are between 1 and 1.5 minutes long. Figure out how long you want your video to be, using Video Best Practices on The Optimal Video Length as a guide, and with that duration and the complexity of the topic in mind, you’ll be able to figure out how how many questions to include.

3. Conclusion

The final question, will form the conclusion and relates to the opening question of the interview. The guest’s answer should tie their message together into a clear takeaway. 

e.g. Q: “So, Jen, what’s the one thing you’d like people to know about growing a business?

      A: “Success isn’t just due to a secret or to luck. It’s a bit of both, with some great mentorship and support thrown in.

The host thanks the guest, and wraps up the interview.

e.g. “Thank you so much for joining us today, Jen. I’ve learned a lot about rapid business growth, and I know our viewers will have too.

4. Call to action (CTA) 

Include a clear call to action at the end of the interview. In 2-Person Interviews, the call to action will often relate to how the viewer can find out more, or how they can get in contact with the individuals or organisations in the interview. This can be delivered by the host into the camera, or can be delivered as text on screen after the interview has finished.

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