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Research Guides

Introduction to Podcasting

A library guide introducing various sources and best practices related to the creation of podcasts.

Tips on Conducting a Great Podcast Interview

Your questions are really the meat of your podcast. Here are twelve tips that will help you plan and deliver them:

  1. Be Clear About Your Podcast Format
  • Think about how you would like the interview to run
  • Thinks to consider include length of the show, whether there are consistent questions that you will ask each guest that appears on the podcast, cadence, tone.
  1. Outline your Interview
  • Good to have a general idea of the flow of the interview ahead of time
  • If you plan for it, it is easier to redirect a stalling interview
  • Make room for follow up questions
  • The more conversational the tone, the better the interview sounds
  • See (link to libguide) for a sample outline
  1. Pre-Interview Surveys and information sharing
  • It is good practice to provide your guest with the following, even if you feel that you know them quite well:
    1. Info about how you record the show
    2. Standard audience info
    3. Clarify name pronunciations
    4. What are their most pertinent qualifications to discuss the topic
    5. Why is the topic important to them
    6. What is an interesting fact about them that can be shared
  1.  
  • Additionally, send a list of possible questions should you have them prepared
  1. Have a pre-interview process
  • Make your guest feel at ease. If in person, offer them a drink, have a chat.
  • If recording remotely – you can give them a summary or overview of the podcast and its direction, reminding them of the target audience.
  • Letting them know about the audience will help them to cater their answers specifically to that group
  • Outline the next steps for the participant, which include where and when the episode will be published and how it will be promoted
  • Get them to sign off on any necessary paperwork
  • Give your guest an opportunity to ask questions
  1. Find and secure the guests that you are truly interested in interviewing:
  • select compelling guests who are knowledgeable on the subject under discussion
  • select guests that you are genuinely interested in speaking with otherwise you run the risk of sounding inauthentic
  1. Do research on your guest:
  • Check out their website or “about” page trying to get a sense of them as a person rather than focusing on rigid accomplishments – look for anything that might be unusual or interesting
  • Check their social media to see if they are active. If they are active, you will be able to create questions based on their posts. Don’t forget to take a look at their LinkedIn profile.
  • Try to find a fact or story through which you can connect with the guest with
  • See if they have been on podcasts in the past, or other media appearances, and listen to those. This will help you see how they may come across on your podcast.
  • Read their book/watch their movie, etc – although this may take a bit of time, it will actually help you to ask more interesting and relevant questions
  1. Prepare your questions
  • As you do your research, jot down questions that you would like to ask the guest
  • Try do develop questions that are interesting or focus on creative angles as this will reduce the chances of a rehearsed response.
  • If you have heard them make statements in other interviews, you can restate these and take them a step further
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Ask closed ended questions only to clarify facts
  • Ask one question at a time as asking compounded questions can get confusing
  1. Move the interview forward:
  • Be conscientious of time by reducing the amount of time spent of background information
  • Don’t be afraid to reel your guest back in to the main topic if they go off on irrelevant tangents
  • Keep questions clear and concise: the fewer words the better!
  • It is your job to steer the conversation
  1. Don’t interrupt:
  • Interrupting your guest can come across as rude
  • Prepare questions that will keep the conversation on track
  • Remain silent as much as possible because this will keep your recordings cleaners as well>
  1. Practice active listening:
  • Pay attention to what the interviewee is saying rather than focusing on the next question you want to ask
  • Try engaging in a real conversation – as this will improve the flow of the interview
  1. Minimize Distractions
  • Record in a spot that will minimize background noise
  • Some noises can be edited out before publishing, but many cannot
  • Turnoff notifications and record at a time when you know that distractions will be minimal

Some Bonus Tips

 

Please note that these tips were compiled based on the following resources:

1. University of Calgary - Media Creation Resources - "Interview Tips" 

2. Don't Panic Management - Jess Tyson - 11 Ways to be Exceptionally Prepared for a Podcast Interview  

3. Podcast.co - James Deeney - 9 Tips for Conducting Better Podcast Interviews

Additional Sources