The Top Four Do’s and Don’ts When Interviewing a Guest for Your Podcast

“What was the name of your podcast again?”

My heart sank as I sat in on one of my client’s guest interviews that she was recording for her podcast. 

I knew she was nervous, but asking the guests the name of their podcast while simultaneously fumbling through their names just as she was about to hit record? Not the best start. 

Preparing for a podcast interview can be daunting, especially when interviewing doesn’t come second nature. Still, there are most certainly things we can all do in preparation to make the conversation more natural and less offensive.

Today we will discuss the top four do’s and don’ts when interviewing a podcast guest.

DO’s

  • Do prepare in advance by doing your research.

More often than not, we have guests on our show because we highly respect the insight they plan to share with our audience. When you show up unprepared, not only does it seem unprofessional, but it can be inconsiderate. Setting aside 20 minutes to prepare for your guest is a fantastic idea. Gather their name, resources, and what you can find about their story to formulate questions.

  • Do prepare your guest by sending recording tips in advance. 

While our guests might be experts in their fields, not everyone is an expert in best sound practices for a podcast. Send a document with helpful recording tips such as, “Find a setting with minimal background noise” or “Wear headphones during the interview.” Not only will your guest appreciate it, but you’ll thank yourself when you listen to the audio and have fantastic quality.

  • Do know it’s OK to ask for proper pronunciation of names before recording. 

While it’s a good idea to know the name of your guest in advance, pronunciations can be tricky. When you get into the habit of asking for the correct pronunciation upfront and before recording, it eliminates awkward corrections that might need to occur otherwise. 

  • Do have a notecard in front of you with all the pertinent information, such as guest name, their podcast or ministry name, etc.

Again, this is all information you will want to gather beforehand, but it is never a bad idea to have a notecard as a quick reference. As your show grows, it won’t be uncommon to have multiple interviews in one day. The quick reference card is a great trick to keep you on task and ensure you don’t miss any critical details.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t forget to set proper expectations with the guest on the length and style of the interview. 

While you want your guest to feel important, it’s still your show, and they want you to take leadership. 

  • Don’t send your guest away without genuinely thanking them for their time. 

Time is a valuable thing. A simple thank you goes a long way; if you want to increase your appreciation, a small gift card for a coffee is even better!

  • Don’t talk over your guest or make the conversation about you. 

While this point might seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many of us do this without even realizing it. Of course, we want our audience to think we are knowledgeable. While your guest’s words might be relatable to something you’ve experienced, you will want to be cognizant of how often you bring the conversation back to you. Not only will the guest be turned off by this, but your audience will too.

  • Don’t feel like you have to be perfect! 

We are all human! Sometimes we misspeak and have to start over, but that’s OK. Sometimes we forget what we are going to ask and have to pause; don’t sweat it! When you come as you are to your show, that not only shines through in your episode but also allows your guest to feel more comfortable doing the same. With every interview, this process will come more naturally. 

— Bethany Adkins

Set aside one hour over the next couple of weeks to fine-tune your interview process for your podcast. Be sure to include everything, from gathering information about your guest to better preparing them by creating and sending over a “helpful tips” document in advance. Now, what tip did you find most helpful? Share in the comments!

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