16 Tips for Giving a Successful Interview

There are a number of ways to conduct an interview on your podcast that can contribute to its success.

1. Be organized

Know how long the interview will take and how many questions you plan to ask. When inviting your guest, you can then give them an idea of how much of a time and effort commitment they will have to make.

2. Know your guest well

Be sure to do research about the person before you invite them, and again once they agree to come on. Make sure you know how to pronounce their name correctly and why they are important in your niche; that is, their major accomplishments.

Knowing them will help you formulate questions that will be most relevant to them and therefore to your audience.

3. Ask for a biography

This will also help you get to know them. In addition, use it at your site in order to entice people to tune in for that podcast.

4. Template a list of basic questions first

Create a list of questions you will ask any guest that appears on your show, so you don’t have to start from scratch every time.

Then, dig deeper, with particular questions to ask each guest based on their biography and background. Stay on topic related to their niche. Don’t get personal unless it’s to ask what inspired them to start working in your niche in the first place.

5. Send your questions ahead of time

Once you have formulated your list of questions, email it to your guest for pre-approval and preparation. You want the podcast to be spontaneous, but not catch them out with any surprises. This will help your podcast flow much more smoothly.

6. Be clear about the technology requirements

If your guest will be coming in to meet you face to face, be sure you have two good microphones and that your recording software is set up for this.

If you are interviewing them online, be sure that the technology is compatible and you can hear them at an easily audible level.

Practice a couple of times if you can with your guest as a sound check prior to the event, or with a friend.

7. Go online early

If you are going to stream a live podcast, get online several minutes early to greet everyone as they come on the line, and test that everyone can hear. If you are calling someone for a one-on-one interview, be ready to call at the appointed time – make sure you are not late.

8. Chat informally to break the ice

Greet and thank them for coming or agreeing to participate in the interview. Be polite and help them to feel at ease.

9. Script your introduction

Be sure to script your introduction to make sure you cover all the important points, make the guest sound exciting to listen to, and don’t sound too nervous when you start.

10. Stick to the question list

Work your way down the list. Don’t jump all over the place.

11. Do follow up on any interesting points

If something comes up that sounds like it is really interesting, ask another question about it.

12. Don’t talk over your guest

Give them time to speak, and really listen to what they have to say. Don’t interrupt them unless you need them to clarify something they said. Also remember that your guest is the star of the show, so let them take center stage as much as possible. Make sure they have finished speaking before you start again.

13. React to what they have said before going on to the next question

Don’t just fire one question after the other. React with sincere expressions of interest, like «Wow, I never knew that», or «Thanks for sharing that, it was so interesting.»

14. Keep an eye on the clock

Be sure not to overrun your time.

15. Allow time to sell

Build in about 2 to 5 minutes to mention whatever products or services you both want to sell.

16. Thank them for coming

Successful interviews for your podcast aren’t difficult to conduct if you follow these tried-and-tested tips.