When you are on an interview-style podcast, having a great flow of conversation to make an engaging end-result can be a challenge. Even for the best interviewers, there’s always stress around asking the right questions to help the interviewee showcase what’s most important to them, while making an entertaining episode for your audience. Although most of the content is going to be from the guest, most of the responsibility to produce an interview worth consuming still lies in your hands.
While it is an interview, keep in mind it should have the feeling of a conversation. With that in mind, be sure to let your guests share their input the majority of the time and let their answers guide the natural direction of the conversation. In addition, we recommend preparing beforehand by researching the guest and preparing questions to serve as your guide.
Before we get into the example questions, here are some extra tips to remember during the interview.
- Warm the guest up. If you sense that your guest is uncomfortable or new to podcasting, start off with some light, warm-up questions to reduce interview anxiety. These parts can be cut out of the show in editing.
- Ask open-ended questions. Every question you ask should be open-ended, giving the guest a chance to share their full story and experiences. The interview should feel like a story. You are simply a facilitator, who is there to extract the best content with the right questions.
- Keep the guest on track. As the interviewer, your ability to keep the guest on the topic is vital to the outcome of the show. If you sense your guest is trailing off too much, simply guide the conversation back to the original topic.
- Listen authentically. It may seem obvious, but try to avoid getting distracted during the interview! Listen with the intent to respond thoughtfully.
As we’ve mentioned, supplementing the best questions during the interview will guide the ebb and flow of the conversation. You don’t want to script every question and reaction, but it is a good idea to keep some top questions in mind to deepen the connection of the guest to the audience.
Here are the top 6 questions every podcaster should keep in their back pocket.
- What led you into your career/project/___?
- What do you wish you had known before you started your career/project/___?
- What’s your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
- What mindset or strategy contributed to your success?
- What advice do you have for others?
- How can our audience learn more about you?
Being a podcast interviewer takes time and practice to become comfortable and natural. Remember that it’s your show, and you’ll be the guide for each interview. Your first priority is to serve your listeners, not your list of questions. And lastly, let the natural flow of the conversation carry the interview, keep back up questions in your stash, and have fun!
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