If you’ve managed to land a great guest for your podcast, you need to pull off a great interview. Chances are your guest has appeared on other shows, so you need to put together a list of great questions that allow them to showcase their talents and engage your audience, rather than underwhelm them with questions they have answered a million times before.
Pulling off an unswitchoffable podcast interview requires a little preparation from the host. Improving your interview technique is a skill that you can improve on by putting the following strategies into practice.
Planning Makes Perfect
Research what topics resonate with your listeners and focus in on them during the interview. Maybe your audience is particularly interested in the guest’s experience from a certain viewpoint that your guest doesn’t usually get to talk about. And that doesn’t mean ‘kooky’ questions about their favorite ice cream flavor!
Remember that the goal of your podcast is to serve your listeners killer content, not filler content. Once you have your questions in mind, research your guest to see if you can uncover some unique stories or case studies that will have an impact on your listeners.
You can send out a questionnaire ahead of time to your guest to find out more about them. Also, you can check if there is anything they would like to discuss specifically. Once you have that information in front of you, note down a few open-ended questions to allow your guest to elaborate on the topic. Stick to open questions rather than closed yes/no questions to let the conversation flow more naturally.
You can even take this strategy one step further and send the guest a list of questions before the interview, or see if you can schedule a short chat to break the ice and get any housekeeping out of the way. If you can make your guest as comfortable as possible, it will not only show in the podcast episode, but also make the interview fun and authentic.
Structure Your Show
Even if you favor a more relaxed, conversational style in your podcast, having a planned structure for your interview is critical. Make an outline that covers all the types of questions that you plan to ask. Then, arrange them in an order that allows the guest to feel relaxed before you get into the real conversation.
After introducing your guest, you can ask a few questions that will enable them to demonstrate their background and expertise so that your audience has some context. After, you can pull out the big guns and delve right into the questions that get into what your audience is fascinated to hear. Remember that you may have to ad-lib a few follow-up questions as your guest tells their story, so it may help to take a few discrete notes as they talk. Don’t get too distracted – being a great interviewer means you must be a good listener!
Last but not least, let your passion for the subject shine through. If you’re excited about what you’re hearing, then your audience is likely to be excited too. Listeners take their cues from the host, and if you are genuinely giving off a ‘wow!’ vibe, then they will follow your lead and really engage with your guest’s story.
If you give your guest the space to be passionate about their topic, then it’s pretty much a given that the audience will be excited to take the lesson and work to apply it to their own situation.
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