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Five Steps to Amp Up Your Next Interview

· Time to read: ~5 min

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(By Tracie DeForge) You’re the host, make sure that you and your guest shine! The more knowledge you have going into your interview, the bigger the win you will have as a host. Your first interview can certainly be awkward. However, there are five significant steps you need to follow to make sure your interview goes smoothly for both you as the host and your guest.

Do Your Homework When you’ve secured your guest, then it’s time to get prepared. When you do the work ahead of time, your guest will also feel at ease. So, research your guest in advance of the interview. It will give you the advantage of understanding them as an expert and as a person. Plus, your guest will notice if you are prepared or not. When researching, you can listen to their podcast, read reviews of their podcast, read their blog, and review their website. Do enough research, so you feel completely comfortable talking with your guest about their area of expertise.

Communicate With Your Guest There are three essential things you need to communicate with your guest about in advance of your recording. First, you should provide detailed information on how to connect with you on the day of the interview. It’s frustrating for the guest if they don’t know how to get a hold of you; it will get the interview off on the wrong foot. Once you confirm with a guest, send a confirmation email with dates, times, and how you will reach out to them.

In that email, be specific about the topic and the type of interview style that you use. Some people will send the same list of questions, and each guest will answer the questions from their perspective. Other hosts will have a more coffee shop conversational style of interview. However, the guest still needs to be prepared for that type of interview. If a guest is out of their usual comfort zone, the interview will not go smoothly. Lastly, offer to set up a call with them in advance and send a list of questions to review.

Get Creative As the industry grows, everyone wants to be trendy and relevant. There are no “new” ideas, and at the same time, you want to bring a fresh perspective to your topic or subject matter. So, reframe your questions; that way, it’s new for your guests and your audience. Remember, this will take some prep time. Be the difference that you want to see in an interview.

Ask well-researched questions while keeping the conversation engaging and the listeners curious for what’s next. Be thought-provoking but not challenging. The host doesn’t have to be predictable. Keep the conversation engaging by identifying the things that can be uncomfortable in an interview. Then don’t be that type of host and make your guest uncomfortable. You invited a guest for a reason, so let them speak confidently and freely without interrupting.

Don’t Be A Robot A robotic flow of questions and answers is not your friend. Be the host that you want to see everyone else be. Robotic questions and answers become wallpaper to your listeners. If you are typically asking the same questions for each guest, that’s okay, but you can make simple changes. For instance, reverse the order that you ask in the questions. Also, don’t speak like a robot when you are asking the question. Make sure that you elevate your energy as a host. At the same time, stay exciting and unpredictable during the interview.

As a host, you can share personal anecdotes and stories from your perspective. This is one way to be a great host. By sharing personal information, it feels like you are guiding the conversation and staying engaged with your guest. If you can keep your interview more conversational, you will increase your listenership. However, don’t add in too much of your own suggestions, advice, and concerns. You still want your guest to share their wisdom!

Be A Great Listener Wait for the silence during the interview. Yes, you’ll want to add to the conversation. But don’t forget to let your guests talk and finish their sentences. There is nothing more frustrating than a host who is just waiting to finish their guest’s sentence. Wait for the silence because sometimes people think before they finish their thought. If you’re not a skilled interviewer, you may jump in at any lull because silence is uncomfortable. Practice being comfortable with silence. Even if your guest is finished with their thought, a pause is a time for you to take a breath, and it will go a long way in letting your audience digest the information.

Now that you have the five steps to amp up your next interview, it’s time to make a list of target guests for your show. Get a few episodes under your belt before you invite the BIG guest you’re dying to interview. If you already have launched your podcast, create a recording day ritual, and set up earlier than usual. Spend ten minutes to center yourself prior to turning on the microphone quietly. Lastly, invite the guest! What are you afraid of?

_Traci Long DeForge is the founder of Produce Your Podcast, and a consultant, speaker, and strategist. She can be contacted at or 912.223.9525. Visit her websites: and _
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