It’s been 20 months since I launched my podcast, “I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein“. In 93 episodes I have learned so much about the ins and outs of podcasting. I am constantly learning how to be a better host; conversation guider and listener. I am the first to admit, I still have a lot learning to do. And always will. As with anything else, there will always be a new and exciting way to grow.
One thing I’ve come to realize through the course of all of these (mostly) delightful conversations is that if the guest does a good job on their side of the conversation, it makes the interview SO MUCH EASIER. I understand that it’s MY JOB to pull out the good stuff from them, but some people are more willing to sprinkle good stuff in on their own.
As podcasts are getting more popular, and more shows with the interview/conversation format like mine are popping up by the dozen, I thought I’d give some advice for the interviewee.
1. Come Prepared. If those host sends over questions before the interview, make sure your read them. Or at least give them a glance so that you can have some thoughtful answers.
2. Think about your words before the interview. Most people use words like “um and like” or phrases like “you know what I mean” quite a bit in their everyday talk and it’s completely fine to do that on a podcast as well. But if you consciously think about eliminating it a little bit before the show, your sentence flow will likely sound much better. Not to mention it will make editing a heck of a lot easier for the host. I’d never recommend trying to edit out all of these speech patterns, because you want it to be a natural conversation, but if there are too many, for the sake of the final product, editing some of them out is important and that take a really long time.
3. Bring the Energy. If you agreed to come on the show, be excited to be there. A bored attitude makes it really hard to have a lively, interesting conversation that will be engaging to listeners. They will hear that you either do or do not want to be there.
4. Engage the Host. This is especially for shows like mine, where it is conversation based. If the host has a little back and forth or a bit of input in the conversation, feel free to play off of that. An interview doesn’t have to be strictly you answering the question. Be open to being playful and unstructured.
5. Think about your story beforehand. Are there any fun stories in your life you think the guests would be interested in hearing? Feel free to parlay those into the conversation. Don’t ever hesitate to share something like that. It can always be edited out post production if it doesn’t fit in the conversation. My bet is it will be an excellent addition to the conversation. What are defining moments in your life that you want to be sure you include in the conversation. Be bold and be confident about your story. We have asked you to come on the show because we think you are interesting OR you or your PR people have pitched you to be on our show because you think you are interesting. Be interesting.
6. Be in a quiet space with headphones in. If it can’t be at least relatively quiet in the background of where you are, the interview might be pointless to even record. If the background noise is too loud/distracting, it makes it very difficult to focus but also almost impossible to edit those noises out. I realize sometimes it’s not possible to be at a completely quiet place but don’t agree to the interview at a time you are going to be somewhere loud.
7. Share the Episode. This is one of the best ways new listeners will find a show. And if they enjoyed your interview, the hope is they will come back for more to listen to other guests. I will never have a guest on my show just because they have a massive social media following, especially if I don’t dig what they’re going for. That being said, if you have highly engaging social media accounts, just by sharing the episode you are helping the host so much. Let me get more specific here though. Don’t just RT the host’s post about your episode. Put a personal post out on all of your social media platforms. (The host should send you links and information for easy ways to share).
BONUS: (edited to add!) Listen to one or two episodes of the show you are going to be a guest on to get a feel for the vibe of the show. That will do wonders in how you prep to be a great guest.
If you are a podcast host, what do you have to add to this list? As a listener of podcasts, what would you like to see guests do on shows you listen to? Can you tell when a guest isn’t engaging? What about as a guest- what would you like to see hosts do?