I was a psychology minor in college. Almost became a clinical psychologist. But it wasn’t until I spent some time under the care of a Freudian psychotherapist that I really learned a little something-something about the brain, psychophysiological responses, and the role of therapy in healing oneself. Anyway, I was recently interviewing a client for a brand consultancy job and at one point began to feel like therapist. Just a hint. What I realized was I was nearing some important truths about the business. Some uncomfortable truths. It was cathartic moment from the storyteller and brand’s point of view. I was in a good place with the interview.
It also helped me realize how unique a place it was and how infrequent was the feeling. Most interviews with business execs feel smart, real, but somewhat canned. Like I’m being treated like a reporter or a board member. I’m always evolving my question set but the last couple of years I’ve gone a little deep dish on successes and failures. I’m not trying to make an executive feel uncomfortable, but it’s important to recognize when I’m in that “truth” zone and use it.
Interviewees will either go down that hole with you or they’ll turtle shell up. The key is to encourage the former. “It must be hard to…”. “Give me an example of how you dealt with…”. “What did you learn from…?”
This learning may be too personal to alter the brand idea but it is likely to help get it approved. That said, if done ham-handedly, it could quietly get you the boot. Hee hee.