Expert interviews 7 Guiding and finishing an interview

Guiding an interview requires skill and tact

This lesson will look at interrupting very politely, moving the interview topic forward or backward, and finishing smoothly.


Starting, guiding and finishing the interview in a natural way requires skill and tact. Through the interview we want the interviewee to continue giving information, but we want them to give relevant information.

Warm Up: 

Before we begin, what are some phrases that you can use to start an interview?

How long are your interviews or meetings? How often do your interviews or meetings take more time than you expected?


Read the phrase and decide when they can be used. Are the phrases a little direct, or more polite? When would you use the phrase? Can you think of any other phrases you can use?

  • Ok. My next question is...
  • That’s interesting, but let’s get back on track…
  • Ok, I think we’ve covered that topic. Let’s move on to…
  • Actually I’d like to get back to…
  • That looks like all we need for now on that topic. Let’s…

For example (you are role A, and the instructor will be role B):

A: So, my client is having trouble reaching younger customers, in your view, what are some possible factors of this?
B: Well, people don’t come into physical stores as much as they used to, particularly young people. But research is showing that older generations, particularly retired people, are also switching to online shopping as a means of getting consumer products. In the UK alone, people over the age of 55 spent over 14 billion pounds online in 2015.
A: Ok, that's really surprising. But actually I’d like to get back to why we are having trouble reaching young people...

What do you think of person B's response? Is the information important?

We can also use similar phrases to finish smoothly. Can you think of any more?

  • I think we’ve covered everything. Thanks for your time today.
  • That looks like all we need. Thank you very much.

Try getting your instructor to answer two questions about the Tokyo Olympics within three minutes. Try to politely guide the interview, confirm the answers, and don't forget to finish smoothly using the phrases we practiced.

  1.     How many countries will participate?
  2.     What’s the motto?

How was it?  Try again with these two questions about the same topic. Now the time limit is two minutes.

  1.     How many venues are in Tokyo?
  2.     What does the logo look like?

Finally, try leading a short interview on a topic that you might need to ask about in the future.