There are so many great tips to share on how to be a better interviewer, but one thing is for certain, every serious podcaster must pick up this skill if they want to take their podcast to the next level. Working on being a great interviewer means your show will have interesting content no one else has heard of before or, at least, your show will be able to deliver unique perspectives and teach your listeners something new.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Whenever you invite a guest on to your show, take the time to find out who they are and what kind of work they’ve been doing for the past couple of years. Take this knowledge and pick out certain themes or subjects that your audience might find interesting. When you take the time to do this very simple exercise, you will also develop the extra confidence needed to interview someone for the first time. Another benefit to doing this is that it will also relax your guest a little bit and they won't feel so nervous when the two of you are talking about something he or she is extremely familiar with.
You do not have to spend a lot of time doing a background check on your guest. All you have to do is gather enough cliff notes to make yourself familiar with the types of things they've been working on and let the interview take care of itself. If you run 5 episodes a week, then doing these checks can become a bit problematic, but hopefully you have staff helping you and they can comprise quick notes for you to get an idea of who you're dealing with.
“Questions are important, but having a good ear to pick out key details and gems the person is revealing is just as important too.”
YOUR QUESTIONS ARE A TEMPLATE
Some people like to wing it in a podcast and others like to have a list of questions for their guest, but the key to good interviewing is to have a balance of both of these skills. Questions are important, but having a good ear to pick out key details and gems the person is revealing is just as important too. Be prepared to have the interview be taken in a completely different direction than what you planned and expand on topics your guest is talking about to get a better idea of what's really going on.
WHAT'S INTERESTING TO THE LISTENER?
It can be so tempting to take an interview on a wild ride that only you find fascinating, but you have to remember it's not about you. Always have the listener in the back of your mind and figure out if this is a subject that can help them or not. Is this something they need to know or should you move on to the next subject? If someone is listening to your show for the first time, would they understand what your guest is talking about? Try to be as considerate as possible to your listeners and make sure the information your guest is revealing is relevant to your audience as well.
By the way, if you haven't checked out last week's post about how to add value to your podcast, be sure to check it out over here.