What would a podcast be without the appearance of special guests? Many shows rely heavily on interviews with experts, celebrities, and other interesting people to bring in a different point of view and provide an entertaining episode. But conducting an interview is no small feat.
As a podcaster, it’s important to make sure that you’re setting the tone and quality of your episodes. Whether you’re a seasoned host or you’re just starting out, mastering the art of interviewing can greatly enhance your content and captivate your audience, leading to more subscribers and greater opportunities to monetize and generate revenue.
While it may seem like there are some podcast hosts that are naturally great at conducting interviews, the truth is that anyone can be an excellent podcast host and there are several techniques and strategies to help you bring out the best in your guests. Read on to learn about how to get more engaging and insightful interviews for your podcast.
Top Techniques for Podcast Interviewers
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Before the interview begins, make sure you are prepared for your podcast guest’s responses and have a list of questions ready to go. Part of this preparation is doing your due diligence by means of thorough research about your guest. Familiarize yourself with your guest’s background, expertise, and previous work.
This preparation will not only impress your guests but also enable you to ask relevant and thought-provoking questions that get more in-depth answers. Dive into their books, articles, social media profiles, and previous interviews to gain valuable insights and establish a strong foundation for your conversation.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Crafting open-ended questions is key to eliciting detailed and engaging responses, which will ultimately lead to a great interview. No one benefits from questions that can be answered in a single word, so those types of questions are best avoided. Instead, try to ask questions that will encourage your guests to share their personal experiences, their expert opinions, and their expertise on the subject matter.
Consider using phrases like “Can you tell me more about…” or “How did you approach…” to prompt thoughtful and detailed answers. These types of questions allow your guest to go into more detail, and provide context and further explanation about their responses.
Furthermore, open-ended questions encourage critical thinking from your guests and help keep the conversation going. Rather than interrogating your guests with yes/no questions, opt for open-ended questions that prompt more elaborate answers.
Practice Active Listening
Interviewing can be both nerve-wracking and exciting, which makes it easy to get caught up in your emotions and less mindful of ensuring you’re remaining focused on your guest. You must genuinely listen to your guests when they are speaking. Active listening is just as important, if not more so, than asking pertinent questions during an interview.
Pay close attention to your guest’s responses, body language, and tone of voice. Be present in the moment and avoid interrupting or rushing through their answers. By actively listening, you can pick up on subtle cues and follow-up with relevant questions that delve deeper into the topic, allowing your guests to share their insights more fully.
Be Okay with Silence
Silence can be a powerful tool during an interview. After asking a question, allow your guests a moment to collect their thoughts and formulate a response. Sometimes, the most insightful answers come after a brief pause.
Avoid rushing to fill the silence and let your guests take their time. Not only will this give them the opportunity to think through their answers, but it also creates an atmosphere of openness and trust. This technique can lead to deeper reflections and more profound insights from your guests.
Develop a Connection
Creating a real connection with your guests is vital for fostering an open and comfortable environment. Start by breaking the ice and engaging in some small talk before diving into the interview. Then show genuine interest in their personal experiences, stories, hobbies, or recent achievements. Ask follow-up questions that show you are actively engaged and value their perspectives.
Display empathy and create safe space for your guests to share personal experiences. When your guests feel understood and supported, and when you build a rapport with them, it will help them to relax and they will be more likely to open up during the interview, which will in turn lead to more authentic, insightful conversations that resonate with your audience.
Be Flexible & Adapt Quickly
While it’s essential to come prepared with a list of questions, spontaneity also plays an important role in successful interviews. As conversations unfold, be open to spontaneous moments and tangents that arise during the interview. Sometimes, the most interesting discussions occur when you allow the conversation to flow naturally.
Of course, this also means being flexible and adapting your questions based on your guests’ responses, allowing room for unexpected but valuable insights. Just because you create a list of potential questions to ask prior to the interview, doesn’t mean you need to stick to it rigidly. Instead, be mindful and embrace the fluidity of conversations.
Mastering interviewing skills is a continuous learning process for podcasters. Thorough research, active listening, asking open-ended questions, and fostering a connection are all crucial elements of conducting engaging and insightful interviews. By working on implementing these tips and techniques, you can start bringing out the best in your guests.
Remember, a well-conducted interview can make a lasting impact on your podcast and help you build a dedicated audience eager for more captivating conversations.
If you’re looking to start a new podcast, or if you need help with your current podcast, reach out to Sorrentino Media. We have years of experience in podcast production, and can help with pre-production planning, post-recording editing, finding and booking guests, equipment setup recording episodes, and everything other thing in between.