Emmy and Peabody Award Winning Journalist and Interviewer Charlie Rose was the “Distinguished Speaker” in Pasadena on Thursday. During his 1 /12 hour lecture, he dropped a lot of big-wig names, showed clips of some of his favorite interviews (Seinfield, President Bush, Bill Clinton), and spoke on the election, the decline of America and, what I found most interesting, questioning techniques.
He showed us a clip of him interviewing David Frost, an English television presenter who now works for Al Jazeera, and Rose was asking him how to ask the right question that reveals character.
“How do you get beyond all the questions about policy?” Rose said.
Frost responded that he asks, “Beguiling questions with potentially lethal consequences.”
Could he be more specific?
Then Rose talked about lists of questions, such as those developed by French novelist Marcel Proust or American writer, James Lipton, who is host of Inside the Actors Studio. Here’s a list of questions that Lipton uses:
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on?
4. What turns you off?
5. What is your favorite curse word?
6. What sound or noise do you love?
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
9. What profession would you not like to attempt?
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Obviosuly, there is a time and place for these questions. For what Rose does, it works. For the type of stuff I report on, I have my doubts.
Just don’t take it the wrong way when I see one of you at a council meeting and ask, “What turns you on?” I’m just trying out some new techniques.