In the podcasting world, conducting interviews is very common. And it's not really surprising why. Not only will it provide guests with the perfect venue to share key tips and insights, it also helps them establish their authority in the niche.
An impeccable interview has flow, value, and sincerity. It presents information, tips, techniques, stories, etc. in a way that is both interesting and engaging. When done right, interviews can be fun, creative, and powerful.
However, contrary to popular belief, awesome interview skills is not something one is born with. It is a skill that has to be developed and mastered. As an interviewer, you have to ensure you are able to provide valuable insights without boring your listeners to oblivion.
If you think your interview skills can use some sass, consider it best to keep the following fundamental tips in mind:
Just like most things, preparation is key when it comes to interviewing podcast guests. With that in mind, ample time should be allocated to doing research. Find out everything there is to know about your guests so you'll know what questions to ask and how best to highlight their expertise.
You can also listen to previous interviews they have done if there are any so you'll know the questions that have been covered. Listening to previous podcast interviews can also give you an idea how to best approach the interview proper.
Finding out everything you need to know about your guest is just the first step. You also need to take into account how your listeners can benefit from the entire experience. More than anything, you have to remember that your podcast is all about your audience.
In line with this, make sure you approach the interview proper in a way that will benefit your audience the most. Try to see things from their perspective. What takeaways are you looking to getting if you are the listener? Make sure you have all the key aspects covered.
Once you’ve done your homework, it's time to brainstorm the questions. Keep in mind that there's asking questions and there's asking the right questions. The line is thin but you have to know the difference if you want to present an episode that's truly exceptional.
List down all the possible questions you can think of. Once you have an extensive list, narrow them down so you are left with the most relevant and sensible ones. Also, ensure there is flow. Don't jump from one question to another.
While it's okay to discuss a few unrelated things every now and then, ensure you stick to the guide you have created. Otherwise, your listeners won't be able to get anything substantial from the interaction.
Before you hit record, work on building rapport with your guest first. Be warm so they will feel comfortable and welcome. Assure them the conversation does not have to go flawlessly. Mistakes can occur and that's what editing is there for. Without doubt, putting guests at ease is crucial. If they're stiff and uncomfortable, it will show. And it will be hard for them to share anything that's of value when they're stiff and uncomfortable.
While it's easy to get carried away (especially when discussing something you are very passionate about), it's important to be mindful you don't take over the entire interview. Give your guests ample time to talk and show the audience why they are deemed experts in the industry.
In addition, keep interruptions to a minimum. Don't interrupt guests unless very necessary. Not only will you be showing your guests basic courtesy, you are also providing your listeners with an impeccable listening experience.
While unfortunate to note, many people tend to forget how important attentive listening is when doing interviews. If you don't pay attention to what the guest is saying, you won't be able to ask the right follow-up questions. Understandably, you can't also expect the conversation to be engaging as well if your listening skills is non-existent.
It's normal to feel intimidated especially when you're interviewing someone you totally look up to. However, you can't expect to deliver a notable episode if you let your nervousness get the better of you. Take it easy. Relax and breathe and keep your cool at all times.
Don't take things too seriously. Be cool and casual and don't forget to have fun. Be natural and just talk like you would to a good friend over a cup of your favorite coffee. When your guests can see that you are relaxed and having fun, it helps them relax too. It also helps them to be candid and open about their knowledge and personal experiences. So it's a win-win any way you look at it.
How do you make interviews amazing? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
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