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An interview is the most appropriate way of obtaining information from a person. It can also be used to assess someone’s personality among other attributes. A good interview requires an effective interviewer. There are qualities that someone must possess in order to be regarded as an effective interviewer. Some of the desired characteristics in a good interviewer include self confidence, good communication skills, patience, ability to listen, capacity to ask the right questions, and capability to ask the questions in an appropriate way (Bunting, 2007, p. 42). This paper analyzes the effectiveness of Fergal Keane as an interviewer, based on interviews he conducted on Jimmy Lai and Jean Robert Cadet. The Bunting description of an effective interviewer will be used as the basis for the analysis.
A good interviewer has to be sure of himself and confident about his/her capability as an able interviewer. Fergal Keane, from his two interviews, shows that he feels comfortable about his unique capabilities. In the two interviews that he conducts, he demonstrates strong elements of self confidence. He appears to be so sure of what he asks and poses the questions with a lot of maturity. For instance, the way he asks Jimmy Lai to explain to him where he obtains the talent of provoking people, shows that Keane has a lot of confidence in himself. The quality of self-confidence assists Keane in overcoming the eventualities that normally befall the interrogators with low personality (Bunting, 2007, p. 42).
Keane demonstrates the ability to ask the right questions; the ability to ask the right questions is a good tool in an interview since it enables the interviewer to obtain the exact responses that he requires. In addition, asking the right questions ensures that the interviewee is not offended or provoked during the interview. When Keane asks Lai about how he was forced to close down his company, the questions he poses are direct and he requires Lai to explain the circumstances that compelled him to give up the ownership of his company. The right questions normally assist the interrogators avoid wasting time and also minimize the chances of obtaining vague responses (Bunting, 2007, p. 44).
As an effective interviewer, Keane shows that he has proper communication skills and that he knows how to pose the questions in the most appropriate manner. He knows how to transform his questions in way that his respondents are able to understand easily (Bunting, 2007, p. 45). For instance, in his interview with Jean-Robert Cadet, he asks him if he could remember anything about his mother who left him at an early age. Keane asks the question in such a simple way, which Cadet can understand with a lot of ease. He also asks Lai to explain what happened as result of his impulsiveness. Keane knows how to maintain a steady flow in an interview by using the communication skills that he possesses.
Keane has also demonstrated that he is a good interrogator by ensuring that the interviews he conducts are well prepared, organized, and making sure they have a proper flow of ideas (Bunting, 2007, p. 45). In the interview with Lai, he begins by asking where Lai had acquired the skills to provoke people and proceeds to ask him about the difficulties he encountered in China. The questions in this interview have a proper flow and are related to one another. The same skill is also evident in the interview with Jean, where he begins by asking him how old he was when he parted ways with his mother. This preparation perhaps helped him come up with the questions that should, or should not, be asked.
A good interviewer is one who listens as much as he talks and Keane has demonstrated that he has this quality. The ability to listen well to the respondents enables the interviewer to ask distinctive questions that require distinct answers. The fact that Keane does not repeat the same questions during the two interview sessions indicates that he takes his time to listen keenly to the two respondents. The ability to listen well and the capacity to avoid repeating similar questions have enabled Keane to carry out the two interviews in a short time (Bunting, 2007, p. 46).
Apart the Bunting qualities already discussed, this paper believes that perhaps the most important facet of an interview is the audience. In an interview, especially where there is an audience involved, it is important that the interviewer is audible, captures the mood of the interview (via his/her tone) and that they are clear. This ensures that the audience follows the flow of the interview and that they don’t have to strain themselves to hear what the interviewer is saying. From these two interviews, it is apparent that Fergal Keane has mastered this art. His voice is very clear and audible that makes for a smooth following by the listening audience. In addition, he has strived to match the tone of the interviewer. This simply means that he’s in the same page (emotionally) with not only the interviewee but also the audience (Tyrell, n.d).
From the two interviews, Fergal Keane comes out as self confident interviewer, patient, a good listener, knowledgeable when it comes to what and how to ask and an effective communicator. In addition, his voice clarity and audibility as well as his tonal maintenance cannot be questioned. As a result, he fulfills all the qualities of an effective interviewer. Therefore, Fergal Keane is an effective interviewer. These qualities enable him to maintain a conversation with the interviewee without offending them, even if he’s asking them on some sensitive matters (such as the case of Jimmy Lai). In addition, it enables the listening public to get the flow of the interview without straining. All these compel the interviewee and the listening public to be engaged in the interview until the end.