When the interviewer offers information, it is easy to end up giving lectures or trying to persuade the recipient. This happens especially in the case of areas they are engaged in, have much knowledge about or where they feel that the other person can do wrong. The interviewer can be easily caught in an expert role. As an interviewer, you’re often trained to quickly ask questions, to get an idea of the situation and to suggest measures. 

Don’t give too much information since there will be a risk that the person becomes overwhelmed by all the information conveyed or begins to argue. This might also strengthen their resistance.

Providing information in dialogue makes the person more open to listening. Both the interviewer and the other person must be able to contribute their knowledge and approach and the person additionally with their values and reflections on what it is about.

Other benefits of the informative dialogue:

  • The person has a greater ability to absorb information that is personally relevant to them.

  • The information can easily be adapted to the individual conditions and the degree of interest.

  • It is the person who draws conclusions from the information session. It is a way to emphasize the person's autonomy or the right to decide for themselves. 

The dialogue consists of four steps. You start by asking for permission to inform. Explore what the person already knows, provide information and finally explore how the information may have personal relevance for the person.

1. Asking for permission to inform. There are different things we could do to help you. Is it okay to tell me more about that? Asking permission to get information is a way for the interviewer to show the person respect and to prevent resistance when the person may accept or decline the information. If you need to provide some information according to the law or procedures you don’t have to ask for permission. Tell me instead why you must inform.

2. Explore. Begin by exploring what the person already knows: What do you know about what we can offer? What have you read or heard about us? Tell us. In this step, the session leader explores with an open question what the person already knows about the topic, and summarizes what the person says.

3. Additional information. Provide information tailored to what the person already knows. The interviewer informs about what the person does not know. The information is given in a neutral and objective way.

4. Explore. Help the person link the information to themselves and communicate to the person to draw the consequences: What can this mean for you? What do you think about this? Would that be something for you? What are you saying? The person should feel free to draw conclusions from their experiences and values and not to feel guided toward a definite conclusion.

Today’s task
Try to talk about today’s lesson with someone you know. Taking an expert role is something that we are trained to do, but this has its drawbacks. Think about when you tend to get stuck in a lecturing role. How and in what situations can you apply the information in the dialogue?