I think we would all agree that there has become a bit of a pattern amongst many business podcasts, that are interview focused, whereby the interviews can become pretty much the same. I believe there is an opportunity to really differentiate yourself and your style as a podcaster. When we’re interviewing someone, we need to think about what it is that the listener wants from that experience, and what it is that the interviewee wants to get from the experience. In this blog I want to share a few tips on how to be a better interviewer.
4 tips to being a better interviewer:
- Do your research
Very simply; make sure you’ve researched your guests. If they’ve written a book, you need to read at least some of it, if not all of their book, to have an overview of who they are and what they’re all about. If you can listen to them on other podcasts interviews, then that’s a really valuable resource. I recommend you go and have a look on Listen Notes to see which shows they’ve appeared on so that you not only have an understanding of those generic answers that they’re giving, but also have some ideas as to what they have and haven’t been questioned on.
2. Make it memorable
You, as the host, need to make sure that your material is memorable and will have a lasting, positive impact with your guest. If you follow my work, and if you’ve seen my book ‘Podcast With Impact’, you will know that the word ‘impact’ really matters. It is all about us having this global reach and globally making a difference. With podcasts we’re able to do that, one person at a time. So you want to think about how you can leverage the conversation you’re going to be having with a guest so that you are maximising the ability of this particular episode being the one to remember. Your job as the interviewer is always to break the state of your guest. You want them to get beneath the standard answers that they’re giving and potentially say something for the first time.
If you are present and in the moment with your guest you are going to have a much more interesting conversation. As an interviewer, I want you to think about how often are you not listening to your guests. How often are you actually planning the very next thing you’re going to say and therefore wasting some precious material that they’ve brought to the table? I’ve been on many podcasts, where no matter what I said, the interviewer was going to ask the next question on their list. Now, it might be that I’ve just revealed something quite emotional that I’ve not said before, or certainly that this audience would never have heard before. I know that I’ve opened the door to something that will actually be quite interesting for them to then be slam shut by my hosts determination to ask all of their questions no matter what. Treat your guests like their time and themselves matter to you. You value their history, you value their knowledge and expertise.
4. Prepare questions in advance
Prior to an interview, I will map out a few questions. So everyone who comes on my show, we always talk through the fact that this is a free flowing environment. I allow and encourage them to share their expertise. However, if I have a rough idea of where I want the conversation to go that will help maintain the fluidity. Just make sure if you do this you remain flexible to adapt these questions to the answers you are getting.
Ultimately, your job as the interviewer is to break the natural performance state of your interviewee and get beneath the surface and generic answers that they’re doing on everybody else’s podcast. Your goal is to have a memorable conversation.
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