Culture Changers with Allison Hare

EP69: 9 Tips To Nailing Your Podcast Interview

Episode Summary

So much goes into a GREAT interview. And it truly is an art and interviewing is an important life skill that can cross into every area of your life. This episode breaks down how you can make your podcast interview so irresistible that your listeners and your guest will be posting it, sharing it, and sending it to all their friends.

Episode Notes

So much goes into a GREAT interview.  And it truly is an art and interviewing is an important life skill that can cross into every area of your life.  This requires sharpening your own emotional intelligence in the process.  There’s no such thing as a perfect interviewer.  The best news is that you are always continuously evolving and improving.  

As someone who interviews people not only for this podcast but also unsuspecting strangers by nature, I’ve noticed some cardinal mistakes people make that instantly turn the listener off when I listen to other podcasts - and also some small tweaks that can make your podcast interview so irresistible that your listeners will be posting it, sharing it, and sending it to all their friends.

I break down 9 Tips to Nail Your Podcast Interview.

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Episode Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Hey, I'm Allison Hare and welcome to culture changers. The podcast that brings you unconventional wisdom by uncommon people together. We are shattering old paradigms to reshape our world and inviting you to make your own Mark. Okay. What's crazier living through a pandemic with the looming threat of schools going virtual for the year, and I'm forced to terribly homeschool again, or Kanye is running for president. Do you feel like you're living in the upside down? I sure do. Well, we sure are in this together. So thank you for being here. I recently posted on Instagram, asking what you're struggling with so I can get some really great experts for future episodes to help address what's on your mind. And boy, did I get a lot of passionate and urgent responses? Everything from finding happiness through the chaos, to going back to work. When you feel like you as a person have changed almost like a mismatch of evolution, a lot of stress over career transitions, managing your weight and eating, dealing with the herky jerky news cycles and racial justice.

Speaker 1 (01:16):

Finding ways to not feel pulled under by the state of the world. I really felt all of these responses. And if you want to add anything that's on your mind, please visit me on Instagram at Alison a L L I S O N underscore underscore hair like the rabbit, H a R E, and lay it on me. Now, if this is your first time listening to the show, welcome. I'm so glad you're here. If you're returning welcome back. So I ended up switching podcast, hosting platforms to simple cast where they have such good analytics. And apparently I've got a lot of people listening in France. So bull George to my friends overseas. However you got here, I'm glad you found me now. It's my job to keep you here. So just to give you a preview of what you'll hear as the name suggests, I interviewed culture changers, and I talked to super interesting people whose work breaks convention and changes how we live.

Speaker 1 (02:20):

Cool. Right? But the real reason I'm here is to help you make an impact with your own passions, your own skills and talents. And I'll ask you, do you think you're able to express your talents in a way that you feel super fulfilled? Sheesh, we all want more of that. So I built an interactive online podcast course called press play podcast to help people find their own voices and create messages that matter in build a community who care, who cares. I'm not sure which one is grammatically correct, but we just started our third cohort of press play. And man, the alchemy between these ambitious and general generous people is magic. So if this sounds like something you've had on your mind jump in now is I'll be closing the doors and the price will never be this low. Again, you can enroll@alisonandhare.com forward slash press play, and immediately start building your show without worrying about any of the work.

Speaker 1 (03:25):

I've linked it in the show notes, but maybe you already have a podcast or are in the process and really want to nail this interview thing down. So I put together nine surefire ways to conduct killer interviews. And you know, that feeling right before your guest arrives for the scheduled podcast interview. And you're feeling a little nervous, hoping you don't sound like a dummy hopeful, you'll have an interesting conversation and you get that quick flash of Robert Downey jr. Making a dramatic exit from an interview that went sideways and hoping today is not that day for you. You take a deep breath and there's your guest. It showed time. And so much goes into a great interview and it truly is an art and interviewing is an important life skill that can cross into every area of your life. This requires sharpening your own emotional intelligence in the process.

Speaker 1 (04:26):

There is no such thing as a perfect interviewer. The best news is that you're always continuously evolving and improving with every single conversation and as someone who interviews people, not only for this podcast, but also unsuspecting strangers by nature, I've noticed some Cardinal mistakes. People make that instantly turn the listener off when I listen to other podcasts and also some small tweaks that can make your podcast interviews so irresistible that your listeners will be posting it, sharing it and sending it to all their friends. I highly recommend you take notes. And if you're driving, make sure you email this episode to yourself so you can listen to it again and really infuse the takeaways into your own style. So there are several different types of interviews, styles, which style is yours? Is it research based maybe a gotcha interviewer or a safe space for your guests to just freely be themselves?

Speaker 1 (05:28):

Or is the interview designed to be the voice of your listener? Typically, that one is the kind that really resonates. So let's consider your guest. Typically you want your guests to feel like it's a safe space and they get the opportunity to tell the story they want to tell. So it's important to make sure a few things are in order to create that. So I've put together nine different tactics or different tools to help you with that. So we'll start with one. Number one, have a purpose for each episode. One of the fundamental basics of podcasting is to always have a call to action and a purpose. It's important to consider what you want your listeners to walk away with would help shape not only the questions you might ask, but also shapes the most compelling topics to cover. So when I was preparing for my interview with Seth Godin, Seth Godin is a well known author, entrepreneur and thought leader is a giant in the world of ideas and doing, seeing things in a new way.

Speaker 1 (06:36):

And I had zillions of questions. I wanted to ask him. It was almost like I had a chance to ask yoga, Yoda, yoga. I had a chance to ask Yoda the questions that I've always wanted to ask. And my nature is to try and understand how someone got to where they are personally. I just love the backstory, but I had to really pull back from that and think about his expertise, his message in some of the really important questions I wanted answers to. And the other thing is that Seth typically isn't very he doesn't really share a lot of personal details. So I knew that this had to be a very well thought out process, but I was able to weave in some of the background questions in and he really opened up when I knew where his sweet spot is. So it's important to have a purpose for each episode.

Speaker 1 (07:30):

Number two, do your homework. Now, this sounds obvious, but I can't stress it enough. You can learn so much about a person by the content that they put out, whether it's by their books, their art, their movies, articles, their social media feed, even tick tock, et cetera, et cetera. If they're an author, read their books and a pro tip for me, I can barely read Facebook posts. So I listen to books on audible, which helps me study in a more time time efficient way. I especially love listening to my guests. If they've been interviewed on other shows for me, I always hear the questions that weren't asked, which is how I form my questions. And usually when you book someone they've got expertise in a certain area, make sure you researched the topic. Maybe you can Google, Google some statistics in that area and use this as a basis of conversation.

Speaker 1 (08:27):

Now, I will say that some people research the heck out of their guests, like Terry grows from fresh air is known to research every nook and cranny. She reads every book. She has pages and pages and pages of notes and questions in different ways that the interview can go. She's prepared for it all for every single guest. Then there were a few interviewers that purposely research a tiny bit and wing it and let the conversation unfold organically while there is no right or wrong, especially in the beginning, I would encourage you to be as prepared as you possibly can. The more prepared you are, the more confident you are. And as the conversation shifts, you've prepared and you can pivot easily and naturally. And usually when you've done your homework and understand maybe even some of the nuances about about a person, they can respect that there are celebrities or people that you can find.

Speaker 1 (09:27):

Kind of a little known fact about that. Maybe they are masters in chess or have a really weird addiction to the bachelor and you can bring that up and really kind of, kind of let them lower their defenses and even bring some levity to it. So it's important to be prepared. Number three, ask really great questions. This is where I would go back to what type of interview you interviewer, you are research based, God just speak freely or voice of the listener. It's worth noting that you're doing an interview with someone and not at them. So when you form your questions, you want to position the questions to be more open ended and thought provoking versus yes or no or something that just plain is an interesting, for instance, asking someone what advice they would give their former self is fairly nebulous and kind of amateur.

Speaker 1 (10:25):

Instead, you might want to frame a question like I noticed in your article about blank and it really resonated for me. You mentioned blank. And what I interpreted that to mean was blank. Is that what you were thinking? And just let them talk. It shows that you've thought about their work and are genuinely interested in their answer. Also, if you position really thoughtful questions like that, that allow your guests to really unpack some ideas, you can challenge yourself to only prepare five questions and you know, those questions have to be good. Personally. I usually give a lot of thought and prepare 10 questions for my guest. I never use notes or reference the questions to keep the conversation as authentic and organic as possible. My personal favorite, a hack when determining questions is I think if I put myself in their shoes, how would it make me feel?

Speaker 1 (11:27):

So asking a question, like how did that make you feel is a great one. Number four, once you ask a question, stop full stop. Okay. I have been super guilty of this and it's been an area that I've been taking special focus to improve on. I would ask a question and keep elaborating and even end up asking compound questions. Here is an example from when I, Natalie Molina Nino, she's a well known female investor, so, okay. So this is my actual question and it kind of, I think it might've even went like this. When you think of investing in female owned businesses for Brava investments, what stands out is winning traits. In other words, how much weight do you put in the founder versus the idea versus the plan? Who do you take under your wing to help mold and develop? Are there a spidey senses, intuition, analytics?

Speaker 1 (12:23):

What is your winning formula? This is a lot, right? So I'm not sure if I asked all of those in one take, but I've definitely been guilty. And what it sounds like to the listener is that you're more interested in hearing yourself talk or proving your questions are interesting. So ask the question and just stop and listen. Number five, listen, and an improv hack. Okay. I know you've heard people do this. You might hear someone ask a question, the person answers. And then the interview says that's really great and moves on to the next question. But there might've been something interesting in their answer that you could have elaborated on. So a great hack is the principle of improvisation. Yes. And if you hear nothing else from this podcast, take notes on this. This could be the greatest skill you can learn in the art of interviewing what your listeners lean into is a real conversation, not a Q and a.

Speaker 1 (13:25):

So as an interviewer, resist the temptation to reply with that's awesome. And just move on to your next question. I don't always ask all the questions I prepared because the conversation ends up moving in a different direction, but it's far more engaging that way. There are so many times I might hear a podcast where the guest drops a bomber or something super interesting that my brain wants to dig in, but the interviewer has moved on. So just think of the yes. And principle, for instance, you ask a question, your guests response and the way it turns into something super interesting is you say something like you mentioned that the way someone feels about food and emotional eating translate across how they feel about everything. What does that look like? Just remember. Yes. And number six, this one is kind of a big one. This one is really a big one.

Speaker 1 (14:19):

Be respectful of time. It's a big one for you is a big one for your guest listeners. Attention span is a lot shorter than you think. So you never need to Pat an interview trying to fill up the space like ever. So being mindful of time will help you write better questions and get better at steering the interview when it needs steering. And just note that podcasting is always recorded. It's not live so you can always edit and cut the episodes down. If you ask a question that falls flat or isn't that great, Hey, it happens to all of us. Let your guest answer and know you can always cut it out and keep in the best stuff. You might have a 40 minute interview of maybe one of your favorite podcasts, but you don't know it might've been two hours that that was cut down to something that was more palatable.

Speaker 1 (15:13):

So try and I will also say that if you have a remote interview and especially today in a global pandemic, try not to go over the a lot of time. Your guests will run out of steam mentally. If you are clocking in over an hour, when the expectation was 30 minutes. So the tighter you interview, the less work you have to do later, it's always a work in progress. And number seven, set your guest up for success. It's always a good practice to send a calendar invitation or reminder with the details of the interview. If it's an in person interview, make sure they're comfortable and you can quickly build rapport. If it's not somebody you already know, it's also important to be in a quiet area that is free of distraction without notification. So I would always encourage your guests to have the turn, the phone on silent.

Speaker 1 (16:09):

Same with you as well. If it is remote, it's incredibly important to ask your guests to make sure they are also in a quiet area with a good wifi connection. And I always ask my guests to have a microphone, even if it's earbuds plugged into their computer, to make sure the sound quality is top notch. The last thing you want is for someone to tune into your episode, but the sound is in clear and they just tune out or tune off, ask your guests to close all other applications and turn off any notifications or interruptions for remote interviews. I like squat cast. I've linked it in the show notes as I am an affiliate B, but the reason why I love it is because the sound is designed specifically for pod-casters and the sound quality is way better than Skype or zoom, where it can sound a little compressed.

Speaker 1 (17:03):

The benefit of zoom is you can repurpose the video on YouTube to broaden your distribution, but the sound isn't as strong as squad cast. Some people prefer doing pre-calls or pre-interviews before the interview to get a sense of how it will go. I think that pre-calls are really good. If it's an intensely sensitive topic with someone who isn't used to doing interviews, it can be really helpful to kind of warm up the conversation. Personally, I don't do them because I like the conversation to be as authentic as possible. And plus I always have so many questions that I'm afraid I'll blow my whole stack before cave time. And then number eight, this one, this one might be hard to wrap your around because it's there's, there's a lot of human humanity kind of in this one, number eight, do not kiss their butt.

Speaker 1 (17:59):

Now, if you're interviewing someone who you think has a bigger name or audience in you, it's incredibly important to not let that into the interview. And I know it can feel intimidating. Nerves can get in the way it's super hard when you might be a little bit nervous, but they said yes to you because you have something to offer. So don't diminish yourself because you feel like the guests must always be right, because they might have a bigger presence. So level up, this is your chance to level up. You are equals with information to share together. If you're nervous before an interview, which all of us get, take some deep breaths before the interview, trust yourself, you've prepared, you've done the work and it's going to be great. And if it isn't editing buttons are always your friend. It is all good. And then nine number nine last but not least steady.

Speaker 1 (18:55):

Other interviewers start listening to your favorite. Pod-Casters with a critical ear. What do you like? What could they do better? This will help you shape interviews even better. Okay? So those are the nine top ones. And I think I'm going to do a followup to this, and I have some killer interview questions you can download that are going to set you apart from every other interview they've done and keep sharpening that skill, go to Alison hare.com forward slash forward slash blog and sign up for my newsletter is sticky notes. I send out a couple of insightful and thought provoking notes per week to help you through your day and always have something fun and interesting at the end, but we'll also be posting useful podcasting tips. I'd love to get connected with you. And before you go, I hope you got a lot out of this episode.

Speaker 1 (19:51):

And I have a favor to ask of you. Please share this episode with any pod-casters, whether they're established or up and coming or even thinking about it. I wish I had this information when I started it would have cut out so many mistakes. Also, please go to whatever app you're listening to and hit subscribe. Give me a five star rating on being pros. I'm too is here and write a review. It means so much to me to get your feedback, but also helps me shape future episodes. I read every word and it also helps people find me. Thank you so much for listening and I will see you next week.