8 Steps to Better Interviews

Podcast interview

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Ready to unlock your podcast’s potential?

Want to convert listeners into raving subscribers and avid listeners who tell all their friends about your show? 


What truly sets your podcast apart from the others in your space? The answer lies in the art of being a dynamic host and interviewer. 


Becoming a great podcast host is about more than just having a good microphone and a clever idea. (That helps!) It’s about finding your unique voice, understanding your audience, and connecting with your guests. Whether you’re a seasoned podcaster looking to enhance your skills or a newcomer eager to make your mark in the podcasting world, a few simple tactics can take you from conducting fine interviews to hosting exceptional conversations. 

In this blog post, we’ll delve into eight things you can do as a podcast host to level up your interviews, refine your hosting abilities, and connect with your guests and audience. 


1. Do Your Research 

Research, research, research. Despite what you fear, you can’t over-prepare. When you land an awesome guest, you want to do your due diligence and host an interview that sets your show apart from others they’ve done. 


Doing a thorough deep dive on your guests BEFORE you have them on the show will give you a solid idea of what they may have discussed in previous interviews and the areas in which they shine, allowing you to take the conversation beyond the standard boilerplate from their bio or resume. 


Places to research guests: 

– Check out their social media (Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) 

– Read their books, blogs, or other publications 

– Listen or watch past interviews 

– Personal or Company website


2. Ask Pre-Interview Questions 

We find that asking a few pre-interview questions can help take your interview to the next level. Once the guest is confirmed, we often recommend sending a short form with a few questions. 


Things to include in a pre-interview questionnaire: 

– Request a bio and photo for show notes and episode promotions 

– Ask for topics they’d like to discuss and any off-limit topics 

– Offer to share any projects they’re working on


Bonus: Create a repeating segment for your show, like asking guests to share a recipe for their favorite meal, a music playlist, or something else to include in your show notes and provide value to your listeners. 


These pre-interview questions can serve as an excellent jumping-off point and help your guest feel collaborative. 


3. Make a Plan 

Fail to plan and plan to fail…


Creating a high-level interview plan is beneficial once you have completed your research and asked for guest input. A road map outlining where you want to go, themes you would like to tackle, and a few questions that will keep the interview flowing will set you and your guest at ease. We recommend keeping your planning to a one-sheet you can reference throughout the interview with minimal disruption. 


Before you go! Download our Complete Podcast Starter Kit. 


It includes:


✅ Podcircle’s Essential Equipment Guide

✅ The Ultimate Podcast Launch Checklist

✅ Content Calendar Template formatted for Google Sheets

✅ Remote Interview Preparation Pack

✅ 8 Tips to Improve Your Interviews PDF

✅ Three Steps to Writing a Compelling Podcast Show Description

4. Connect with the Person Behind the Expert 

It’s easy when bringing on experts to focus solely on what they do and forget to connect with who they are. However, it will translate into the recording if the guest feels seen beyond their expertise throughout the interview. When you form a connection with a guest, you end up with a better episode! In addition, if the guest enjoys the experience, they’ll be more likely to promote and share the podcast episode when it launches. 


Guest experience starts from the very first connection point, throughout the interview, and ends with wrapping up the conversation. People love the opportunity to talk about the things that matter to them! 


Examples of connecting questions that get beyond expertise: 

– What about this field has been the most rewarding? 

– What is something that surprised you about _____?

– If you could go back to when you first started, what advice would you give yourself? 

– What are you most excited about in the coming year? 

– What were some landmark moments in your career? 

– What was your biggest failure in this field? What did you learn from it? 


5. Offer Up Vulnerability and Lead with Curiosity 

Remember that the interview should be a conversation. A conversation exists between two or more people talking about themselves and connecting. We’ve all heard an interview where the person hammers the guest with questions and stays removed. 


Instead, lean in! When the moment calls for it, offer up some vulnerability and opinion and lead with your curiosity about the person. Don’t be afraid to share about yourself when appropriate; it goes a long way in connecting with your guests and, in turn, your audience. 


6. Restate What You Heard 

Reflective listening, or restating back to the guest what you heard them say, is a powerful strategy for cultivating compelling interviews. This tactic helps the guest feel understood, clarifies points for your audience, and helps keep the conversation flowing. 


Examples of reflective listening: 

– What I hear you saying is…

– When you told us____ it made me think of ____.

– When you stated ____, what would that mean for a situation like _____.


7. Take a Deep Breath 

Never underestimate the power of a deep breath during an interview. When you’re talking with a guest and hit a stalled point, unsure where to take the conversation next, resist the urge to power ahead. Instead, stop, take a deep breath, and collect your thoughts. 


8. Be Your Own Cheerleader (and Critic!) 

Just like the best athletes understand the power of a post-game recap, the best podcasters take the time to review and learn from past interviewers. So, instead of finishing an interview and moving on, schedule regular time to listen back through old interviews to learn from mistakes, hone your skills, and celebrate when you nail it! 


All these tips boil down to one thing: being a good interviewer is being a curious human! 


You’ve got this. Happy Podcasting! 


If you want to take your podcast to the next level, download our Complete Podcast Starter Kit today. 


Before you go! Download our Complete Podcast Starter Kit. 


It includes:


✅ Podcircle’s Essential Equipment Guide

✅ The Ultimate Podcast Launch Checklist

✅ Content Calendar Template formatted for Google Sheets

✅ Remote Interview Preparation Pack

✅ 8 Tips to Improve Your Interviews PDF

✅ Three Steps to Writing a Compelling Podcast Show Description


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