People Are Like Onions
As a podcast host, your job is to peel those layers until you get to the core of who they are. Thats what enables you to bring someones story to life in a way that connects with your audience.
You want to learn things you couldnt by reading books, looking at their resumes, or visiting their websites. Theres more to every single podcast guest than they can possibly express through their resumes or their books. Your job is as a podcast host is to get it out of them.
The ability to do this comes down to two traits.
When you learn to listen well, your questions will elicit emotional responses with depth. Youll get stories instead of soundbites.
Be In A Good Location: Podcast Guest Tip #3
This is the final basic pre-flight check. WHERE you record.
Rule #1, for the love of all the microphone gods, do not record in a public place. Background noise is the worst, and YES, that coffee grinder in the background at Starbucks is ruining your interview.
Even quieter sounds, like passing cars, or clinking plates, come across much louder in a recording that it does to your ears.
Next, choose the softest room you can. A glass-walled, tile-floored office is about as bad as it gets for reverb and echo. Look for carpets, sofas and curtains. Any room with a bit of cosiness. This is why people genuinely record inside their wardrobe, or under a duvet.
In an ideal world, youll have a regular spot, which is always set up, and which is treated in at least a basic way. For example, your home office, with some sound tiles stuck up on either side of your desk.
Play Out The Interview In Your Head Beforehand
A great interview often goes in unexpected directions. Ill get to that in a second.
But for the most part, if youve prepared well, then your interview is going to be predictable.
You can probably guess how your subject is going to answer most of your questions if not the specifics, at least the general tone and ideas.
So think about what answers you are likely to get and then consider what follow-up questions you might ask. You may even want to write these contingency questions down.
If one of your questions is controversial, or you dont know how your subject will respond, consider the possible responses and plan your own counter-response accordingly.
You will also want to play out the interview in your head from your audiences perspective.
What questions are they expecting to be answered in the interview?
If there is an obvious line of questioning that they will be expecting, you either need to bring it up or address why you are not.
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Listen Back To Your Own Interviews
Listening to yourself is one of the best ways to become a better interviewer. It helps you catch crutch words , youre using without realising.
As you play back your interviews, listen with a critical ear. Could you have asked the same question in less words? Will listeners be able to easily follow the conversation? Were there any sticking points that broke up the flow of the interview? Did you manage to cover your key questions in the time permitted?
Write The Right Questions
Once you know the intersection of your interview subjects knowledge and your audiences curiosity, you have to craft questions that will draw this out.
Spend some time brainstorming.
I like to get away from the computer after Ive done my research maybe go for a walk or get a workout in and let my subconscious go to work. I find that great question ideas start coming to me when I dont try to force them. When they come, I make mental notes or type them into Evernote.
Then I get back to my computer, brainstorm some more, and see what Ive got.
Typically I find the question ideas can be grouped into topic areas. I then organize the topic areas from most important to least important because Ill be damned if Im going to bury the lede!
Finally, its time to trim the fat and make sure every essential topic is covered without repeating myself.
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Podcast Interview Question Ideas For 2021
Depending on your niche and the kind of guests you interview, the best podcast questions to ask may vary. Do you interview celebrities? Experts in your chosen topic? Authors? Friends and family?Since podcast topics run the gambit from serious to hilarious, personal to professional, and academic to informal, some of these questions may be more appropriate for your particular show than others. But the ultimate goal of a great podcast interview question is the same: what will get your guest to reveal something about who they are, how they think, or what they know that provides value to your audience?With that in mind, check out the following list of potential interview questions divided into four categories: personal questions, whimsical and off-the-wall questions, questions related to their industry or expertise, and closers to finish up the interview with professionalism and flair.â
Interview Your Podcast Guests Remotely
How to record guests remotely is one of the most common questions new podcasters and audio producers ask. You will rarely have the budget or the time to report a story or episode exactly the way you want. There is little chance of flying around to interview all your sources, to ensure consistent, high-quality sound. Fortunately, technology has provided us with several approaches to remote recording. You can still record high-quality audio without being there with your guest.
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Start From The Beginning
You may be tempted to ask your juiciest question first, especially if you know your audience desperately wants the answer. But that approach takes away your listeners incentive to stick with your episode. It also confuses anyone who doesnt already know the context.
Think of each interview like a story. Your role is pull it out of your guest one question at a time. Prepare more questions than youll probably need just in case, but be prepared to skip over many of them during the interview.
Humanize Your Podcast Guest
When you humanize a podcast guest by understanding who they truly are, theyll feel a deeper level of connection with you, and open up. Your listeners will also see a part of themselves in your guests
Focus on who they are instead of what theyve accomplished. Ask them about their worldview, defining moments, and challenges in life that have made them who they are. Thats more valuable to your listeners than what they have accomplished.
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So Now Lets Move Into During The Podcast Episode
As a guest, as I just said five seconds ago, make sure you are wearing headphones and in a quiet spot in your house. I know this probably sounds silly, but youd be surprised at how often I interview people who dont have headphones at first, and are sitting out on their patio where its windy and cars are driving by.
Something else you can do as the guest, or even as the host, if you are using Apple headphones as your mic, be aware of what youre wearing during an interview. Theres nothing wrong with just using the mic on your Apple headphones, but that mic will brush up against your necklaces or scarves as youre recording. Its such a minor detail, but most people dont think about the fact that their mic is picking up every time you shift in your chair, or it brushes on your scarf. As a guest, you should care about how your interview sounds so that people will actually listen to the full episode.
And as a host, this is why we covered preparing your guests before you record. There are a lot of people whove not been on a podcast before, or may not have been on a podcast that put as much thought into their recordings as you will. So, the reminder emails are important, but if you hop on the interview and something sounds offpolitely point it out!
Test Your Wifi Connection
Remote recording software works best when WiFi is strong and stable. To make sure your interview sounds great and doesnt require a second take, test your internet speed in advance and see if you can move your router a little closer to your recording spot. For the most stable recording connection, try to avoid changing rooms in the middle of your call. Make sure your guest has a solid internet connection as well and encourage them to use WiFi, rather than cellular data.
We use a variety of equipment, some are just for backup. With certain services having interruption issues during this time, its nice to have more than one way to record should the first option go awry for any reason. Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna, hosts of Crawlspace
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Audio Quality And Equipment Dont Matter As Much As You Think
When I started the Unmistakable Creative Podcast, I used the microphone on my Macbook. A podcast listener liked our show in spite of the sound quality that he sent me a microphone in the mail.
It makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars on fancy tools and podcasting equipment if you have little or no podcast audience. Seth Godin once said, No one ever says, have you heard the sound quality of the last episode of This American life.
I dont recommend using your computers built-in microphone, but there is an important lesson.
Do Some Background Research On Your Subject
A podcast interview shouldnt be your first exposure to your subject. You should know at least a little about them before the show starts. Your job is to expose the interviewee to your audience, so it helps to know enough about the subject to get the ball rolling.
Dig into your guests online persona. Read their articles, troll through their social media profiles, and Google around for what theyve said online . Take note of their big accomplishments, like winning an award, writing a book, or speaking at an event.
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Editing & Producing Podcast Interviews
Editing and producing interviews is really no different than editing any other type of podcast episode. The same principles apply. You’ll want to polish up the audio, cut out mistakes or tangents, and process it so that the volume is consistent.
The slight difference is that you’ll potentially be working with more tracks. these days tends to record each participant on their own audio track. Most digital recorders will do this too, for those who’re recording in-person. The point is though, they need to be synced together before you start the chopping and cutting work.
With the right editing tool, this process isn’t as complicated as it might sound. When it comes to editing and production software there’s no shortage of options out there. We have a dedicated roundup of the best editing software on the market right now. Dive in there to explore your options.
For ease, though, here are our 3 top picks that cover most bases.
- For a completely free option, go with Audacity.
- For the simplest possible option, go with Alitu.
- For the most powerful and flexible option, go with Adobe Audition.
Determine Where Your Subject Meets Your Audience
Your podcast interview is for your audience, so its important to determine what your interviewee knows that appeals to your listeners. Theres no sense going over things your audience already knows, or things they dont care about. You need to extract information from your guest that matters the most to your fans.
Take note of anything that would be especially interesting to your audience as you conduct your background research. Dont be afraid to ignore something unique about your guest if you dont think it will matter to your listeners.
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Why Is A Job Interview Important
Job interviews are important because they give you insight into whether you want to hire a candidate. Often in conversation form, the questions asked in an interview can show you a persons skills, job capabilities, and how they contribute to the success of a team or organization. You can use job interviews to compare candidates or build a list of future talent options for other open positions.
Find Other Media Appearances
Look online to see if theyve appeared on any other podcasts and listen to at least a couple of them. Just Google GUEST NAME + PODCAST. This will give you a good feel for the topics theyre most enthusiastic about and how theyre likely to come across on your show.
Pay attention to how they communicate. Do they generally give long answers or short ones? Do they go off track occasionally? These are helpful things to know in advance. If they havent done many podcasts, look on YouTube to see if theyve given any talks.
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How To Conduct A Job Interview
Its important to prepare ahead of time for an interview so you can ask intentional questions that give thoughtful insight into a candidate and their skills. Consider carefully assessing the job opening you have and structuring questions that can best help you find out an applicants suitability for the position. Here are 12 steps you can take to conduct a strong job interview:
Avoid Asking Basic Questions
They make it seem like you dont know the person youre interviewing. These are bad: What are you best known for? or What book are you promoting? Instead, set up good questions by establishing a premise beforehand, like this: Youre best known for book on productivity. Why do you think people resonate with your approach?
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Why Host A Podcast Interview
You might think your show revolves around you as a host, but podcast interviews are great ways to learn and delve deep into your industry. Not only do you get to learn from someone with experience, but you can position yourself as an expert in your field by aligning yourself with other knowledgeable folks.
Hosting interviews is a great way to grow your podcast audience. When you invite guests on your show, they will likely promote the interview to their own followers, thus increasing your reach organically.
Theoretically, you can invite anyone you want on your show, so reaching out to potential guests is a good way to increase your network, particularly with people you admire.
Learn From Master Interviewers
Listen to others you admire, take notes, then put your own unique spin on things. Don’t imitate.
When learning any new skill, you should study the masters. Find an interviewer whose style you like and try to break it down on a more granular level. What is it that makes them stand out? And how could you implement some of the same techniques in your own interviews?
Be careful not to hide behind an imitation of someone else though. The best interviewers let your own personality shine in their questioning. Listen to others you admire, take notes on that, and then put your own unique spin on things.
This year, we spoke to Chris Williamson, host of Modern Wisdom. He grew his podcast audience on YouTube from 15k subscribers in 2020 to 215k in 2021. He’s learned a lot about the ins and outs of interviewing in the process. And he’s clearly getting something right. We recommend watching this interview below as a starting point if you’re serious about becoming a better interviewer. The video has chapter markers on YouTube, so you can skip ahead to the most relevant parts if you’d like:
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Organizing A Podcast Interview
Not everyone you invite to your show will say yes. You might have to send out several invites before you even get a maybe, so its best to keep track of everyone using a program like or Airtable. You can track your invite statuses, fill out guest information, schedule recording dates, and just see everything on track.
For organizing meeting times, you might have to juggle different elements like time differences or work schedules. Calendly allows you to organize everything in one convenient place, allowing guests to see your schedule and pick a time that best suits you both.
|Lets look at a tangible example|
|Its Yvonne again! When I am searching for podcast interviewees, I usually look in two places: LinkedIn and Instagram. I often send out an introduction message on either platform, something super short and sweet.When I reached out to @marcgutman, the founder of WildStory, this is what I wrote: Hi Marc, I run a podcast that is all about branding. Its called the Branding Lab Podcast where I talk to branding strategists and entrepreneurs about building a brand. I was wondering if youd be interested in learning more and potentially be interviewed? The idea actually came from my own struggles launching my own brand and I thought, if I am asking all these questions, others must be too! So I decided to talk about it.|
He answered and gave me his email asking for more information. So I sent a follow-up email.
Why does this matter?