The importance of the INTERVIEW

Reportage fotografico per 24 Ore Business School, Il Sole 24 Ore

In order to fully understand the importance and strategic use of a corporate interview, please bear with me as I take a look at the three levels of communication that every company should be addressing.

The first level is internal: employees, managers, suppliers and owners.  If a company doesn’t work well internally, major problems eventually arise, making the future of the company uncertain. In Europe, up until the ‘80s, internal communications was directed mainly at the unions and its members. Today, the relation with workers, suppliers, managers and owners has changed dramatically.

Today there is more interest in the person who is involved with the company. The wellbeing of employees, the quality of their involvement and motivation in the company’s goals, have become important themes that must be addressed in order to create a collaborative and resilient atmosphere, fundamental in confronting the various intrinsic obstacles and shocks that the global economy is now producing.  

The second level of communication is directed externally: clients and consumers of the company’s products or services. This level is really the motor behind the business and, up util about 20 years ago, was basically advertising. An ad proposed real and imaginary values of any product or service. But since the beginnings of the Internet, advertising is no longer the only source of customer information and has been transformed into a complex on-line dialogue, through various daily touch points, mapped into the customer’s journey wherever he or she may find themselves.

The third level of communication is directed towards stakeholders: institutions, banks, politicians and anyone living in the area where the company produces products or manages its services. Until about 30 years ago, this level was highly ignored but has emerged along with global emergencies such as social responsibility, sustainability, the energy crises and climate change and has become a fundamental level of communication for any activity.

On all three of these levels, the interview can play a leading role because of its potential authenticity and immediacy. However, this is true only if done with a high level of technical competence and a sincere and authentic voice on behalf of the person being interviewed. This is the essential problem with all interviews. Too many companies believe that their managers, when interviewed, must have an authoritative voice instead of an authentic one, while anyone listening can easily determine the sincerity and spontaneity of the person being interviewed. This near-sighted approach soon reveals itself a communication boomerang since the formality of the speaker and the rigidity of the things said reveal only to quickly to any listener its superficial content. People are listening and looking for sincerity and authenticity.

Therefore, the key to corporate communications doesn’t lie in the things that should be said as much as in how they are said: the tone of voice, the sincerity of the voice, the spontaneity of whomever is speaking. Here, my experience accumulated in over 40 years of corporate communications allows me to transform any interview in a convincing and authentic means of communication for any business. Whether the person being interviewed is a C-Level manager or an employee on the shop floor, with my personal technique of conversing with the person and not creating an atmosphere of performance, I can help anyone feel more at ease and allow them to speak with an authentic and sincere voice which is strategically convincing in any situation.  The key is having the time and the attitude to bring out sincere opinions from anyone.

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