On the Center for Medical Simulation’s website there was recently a short post from Jenny Rudolph PhD, Senior Director of the Institute for Medical Simulation, reminding us that “excellent debriefing is invisible”. Jenny connects subtle interviewing techniques to simulation debriefing to show us how the participant should remain the center of the conversation. As a documentary film-maker, I have spent countless hours learning the delicate craft of interviewing. Check out my articles on the Lessons from Documentary Film-Making for Simulation Champs, and Creating Realism in Simulation to learn more about this fascinating topic!
“When I watch or listen to interviews I’ve noticed something. In excellent interviews like in excellent debriefings, the questions and questioner seem to fade into the background and the story and ideas of the learner or interviewee stand out. Like a well-designed setting for a precious gem, or good lighting in the theater, good debriefing and interviewing is not that noticeable. This is ironic because it takes some effort and practice to master the interview and debriefing techniques to be invisible.
A lovely 2.5 minute example of this is Joshua Gubitz’s interview of his 85 year-old friend Len Berk. When Berk retired as a CPA he got himself hired as a salmon slicer at a gourmet deli in NYC. Although this clip no doubt benefitted from skillful audio editing, you will notice that Josh Gubitz just taps the topic along, with little follow-up questions, or a chuckle of encouragement. He doesn’t get in the way of Berk telling his story. Gubitz’s underlying feeling of interest and positive regard for Berk and Berk’s inherent love of salmon slicing do the rest.”