Here are some strategies you can implement immediately.
Research Your Guests Thoroughly
Your podcast may exist to educate and inform your listeners about a particular subject. It’s only respectful of your audience to learn about the topic and the guest. This will help you create an effective episode.
Do your homework. Search online and gather background information about your interviewees. Be sure to follow them on their social media channels.
Visit their website. Listen to previous talks featuring their work. Read their blog posts. Researching your guests will help you guide the conversation in multiple directions.
Engage With Open-Ended Questioning
Ask open-ended questions. For a podcast host interviewer, this can be harder than you realize. It will take some discipline as an interviewer.
Open-ended questions require a response with more depth. They also are helpful in learning about a person or a situation. Here are some example questions…
- What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about…?
- What’s your key piece of advice on …?
- What keeps you interested in…?
Listening sounds obvious, but it’s a common mistake.
Sometimes, we get so focused on asking questions from our prepared list. We miss important points made by our guests. Then, the natural flow seems awkward, and we even ask questions that have already been answered.
To help, reduce nearby distractions. Focus on your guests, not the next question. Here are some handy tips to help you listen more carefully…
- Don’t interrupt your guest when they are speaking. If a followup question comes to mind, write it down to ask after your guest has finished.
- Don’t give verbal agreements to every statement that they make. Nodding your head is more than enough to let your interviewee know you are listening.
Ask for Stories
Storytelling drastically changes the way our brains work. And listeners love a good story.
If you want to persuade and entertain your audience, ask your guests questions to include stories about their experiences. Those memorable moments will capture your listener’s attention and build a relationship with the audience.
Remember to give listeners insight they never expected. To hone your skills, listen to other interview podcasts, and listen to them from the interviewer perspective.
I interviewed radio news reporter and anchor Mark Nuce in a previous episode. We cover the skills needed to become a better interviewer. I have a link to the episode in the podcast episode notes.
Recorded in Studio C at Channel 511, in the Brewery District, downtown Columbus, OH.
Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. With over 35+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording and Broadcasting, the podcast consultants at Circle270Media strategically bring these strengths together for their business Podcast clients.
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