Paxo was a past master at ‘in your face’ upfront interrogation. He understood tonality, pace, use of words but, above it all, I think that he got the etiquette and convention. Really? Really? The scourge of the UK political class and persecutor of the world’s elite?
Yes, he got the etiquette and convention, men and women of substance should be spoken to, dealt with, in a certain manner……. and then he flipped the rule book on its head. If a subject gave a circumspect answer, Jeremy would snort aloud. If a public figure tried to bluster, he could draw them out and then quietly and precisely cut them off from safety with an apparently innocent question. And as for a politician who tried avoidance and importance, well the result could be that frying of Michael Howard; asked the same question twelve times.
Through an intimate knowledge of what was ‘expected’ of an interviewer and then going where few interviewers would go, Paxman established himself as one of the great interviewers of the media age. It sounds combative and aggressive as a means of building a deeper understanding of your subject and getting them to open up to you. Perhaps Paxman's approach is not the ideal in leading you to Trusted Adviser status with your client, but there are things to be learnt.
Think of what it would be like to have an unfiltered understanding of your client's goals or concerns; what it would be like to have them let you in to their circle of trust; what it would be like to be the spark to their creativity.
Be like Paxo; don't stick to the rules. Ask the question, ask it again, ask them things that they would not expect their professional adviser to ask. It takes confidence. It takes understanding of what you are doing. It takes interest. But be prepared for answers that could change your relationship for the better.
Not sure you are ready for this? That's why we are here. Call me.