Advice

CBS This Morning Anchor Norah O’Donnell On How to Get People to Open Up to You

April 5, 2016

'Don’t underestimate the value of curiosity'

Norah O’Donnell, currently co-anchor of CBS This Morning, has spent her life reporting on stories and events around the world. She’s covered everything from the election of Pope Francis to the Boston Marathon bombing and has interviewed world leaders like President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama.

“The bedrock of every great interview,” she told Motto, “is knowing that the person you are speaking with feels comfortable.”

Motto spoke with O’Donnell about how to foster trust in people, why that’s so important and how curiosity is at the heart of trust.

On getting people to open up to you:
“I think the most important thing is that there is a shared level of trust. In order to get people to open up, they have to make sure that they trust you and feel that they’ll have a fair forum where they’ll make their argument or share.”

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On the importance of trust—even if you’re not a journalist:
“Someone once said to me that you can judge the quality of life by the quality of your relationships. That to me is incredibly true. … I think great interpersonal connections and relationships should be at the heart of a successful career because, at the end of the day, we’re dealing with other people. And I think that sometimes is underestimated. We all get so caught up in responding to emails and texts when the most important thing you can do is pick up the phone and get lunch.”

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On the power of curiosity:
“Don’t underestimate the value of curiosity. The question ‘why’ is at the heart of great understanding. I was a philosophy major, and this is Aristotle 101. Curiosity is at the heart of every great discovery and conversation, and I’m immensely curious. Cultivate that ‘why.’”

This interview was edited and condensed.