Alan Brown’s Art of Interviewing: Wrap-up and Resources

At last week’s workshop, consultant Alan Brown gave an in-depth presentation on effective interviewing techniques. He started with a demonstration of an “impact” interview, interviewing Z Space’s Lisa Steindler on her experience at a recent performance of Lily’s Revenge at the Magic Theatre. Lisa responded to his questions with startlingly deep answers about the way the play made her think about love and human understanding, something Alan later called “the quote you put in the season brochure.”

Alan talked about the uses of interviewing including:

  • Assessing your competitive position
  • Learning from external stakeholders
  • Getting specific feedback after a performance or visit
  • Gathering input on an issue or question
  • Test marketing messages.

He led us through the steps to prepare effectively, emphasizing how important it is to have clear objectives.  “If nothing is at stake” he said (meaning nothing would change as a result of the interviews’ findings) “then don’t waste your time”.  Workshop participants then had the chance to try out Alan’s interview protocols on each other, and report back on the experience.

Alan’s full presentation can be found here (clicking link will offer you a download).

Interview protocols are here (clicking link will offer you a download).

Alan also discussed the work he did with The San Francisco Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, and Helicon Collaborative on the Donor Motivations Study (results of interviews with many arts donors) which can be found on the San Francisco Foundation website here. (scroll down to the study description)


5 Responses to “Alan Brown’s Art of Interviewing: Wrap-up and Resources”

  1. 1 Ross Travis May 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Hi Guys,

    The Alan Brown links are not working.


    Ross Travis

  2. 3 Rebecca Novick May 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Links now fixed, sorry about that.

  3. 5 James G. Leventhal May 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    great post — wonderful resources. Thanks, Rebecca.

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In 2008, The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) embarked on a four-year funding partnership to encourage systemic and sustainable structural change in the relationships of Bay Area arts organizations to their audiences, supported by the Wallace Foundation. Community offerings during the grant period (2008-2011) included seminars, workshops, large public convenings, implementation grants, development of a regional shared mailing list, and expansion of the website.




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