How to Start Your Podcast Interview – 3 Do’s and Don’ts

Let’s be honest, it takes TIME to produce a quality podcast! Want to have a proven strategy so your listeners enjoy a value-packed show, and you get to build awesome relationships with your guests?

I was in traditional radio for many years. Since 2007, I’ve taken my broadcasting know-how and incorporated it into our podcast. Our ReLaunch Show walked away with the “Most Inspirational” and “Best Overall” in 2014 in the Podcasters’ Paradise awards.

I've had the privilege of working with lots of smart and successful entrepreneurs who started to incorporate podcasting to grow their business and expand their network. Let me share a few tips from our private and group sessions:

1. Introducing the guests – reading their bio

podcasthostsWhat not to do:

We’ve all heard shows where the host would read out a 1-3 paragraph intro before bringing the guest into the show. And, while it’s usually done out of respect for the guest, to give him or her props for their accomplishments and to set them up for a killer interview, it’s not necessarily the best use of the guest or listener’s time, and from a radio veteran’s perspective, it’s not good radio.

Instead, do this:

So, don’t tell us about the guest’s three best selling books, or about how they overcame failure, an injury, or a business collapse, get into the conversation and have them tell us.

Bring your guest in the show sooner, and involve them in their own intro. My guest intros are 1-3 sentences max.

2. Before you push RECORD

dog reading funny pictureRead out loud, to yourself, your guest’s intro 3-4 times before the interview starts.

Here’s why:

  • You don’t want to stumble over your words;
  • Your expert intro won’t sound like a question – ex: “He wrote the book on how to generate a six-figure income?”
  • Your emphasis will be on the right word(s) – ex: “Jeff is THE EXPERT… on how to get FREE PUBLICITY for your small business.”
  • You want to pack your words with energy, enthusiasm, and certainty.

While this is a very easy thing to do, it’s also an easy thing NOT to do. I’ve been on shows, when the host introduced me, it was like it was the first time they read my bio.

While most hosts are not going to have the time or resources needed to do an in-depth study of their guest, show your professionalism by reading the material they send you, and being familiar enough with it, so you can give them a brief, but complimentary runway into your show.

Bonus tip:

In the pre-show email communication, I request a 50-75 word intro/bio. I’ve had people send me volumes of information, prior shows they’ve been on, their eBook, physical books, etc. And, while I am highly appreciative of the richness of the material they’re sending, it is highly unlikely I’m going to have the time or energy to go through everything they’ve offered to me.

3. How to guide your guest

ask specific questions

We were able to book lots of high profile guests on the ReLaunch Show. But we also featured many new comers whose life stories impacted our listeners in a very deep way. Depending on your show’s focus, many of your guests may not have the “chops” that seasoned speakers and media pros have, for being interviewed.

Not to worry though, your interviews can still be entertaining (that needs to come first), enlightening, and educational.

What not to do:

Don’t ask broad, open-ended questions, that are hard to answer and aren’t relevant to the show or audience. Ex: “Can you share with our listeners a little about yourself?” or “Can you give us a little background on how you got to where you are today?” These types of questions lack focus, direction and can make for a rough start to the conversation.

Don’t assume your guest knows the best place to begin their story.

Instead, do this:

Walk them to it. Remember, the guest, experienced or not, will typically look to you for guidance. Make sure you set them up for success, by being a great guide.

Give your guest a frame of reference for where to start – EX: “When you got out of high school…” “Right before your accident…” “The day before you quit your job…”

Be sure to let them know this ahead of time. This gives you flexibility and a place to go with the conversation.

Want more? Check out our more in-depth tutorial on 5 Steps to a Fantastic Interview. The dogs on this picture are Bubba and Jake, our golden kids!

5 steps to a fantastic podcast interview

Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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