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Hi, I'm Krystal.
Welcome to The Proffitt Podcast - where we teach you how to create  content with confidence.
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This is going to sound kind of braggy, but I’m just going to come out and say it…People tell me I have THE BEST podcast interviews! (Hey, I warned you that it was going to sound a little braggy.)

But it’s true.

I’ve had multiple guests on my podcast tell me that I’m a really good interviewer.

I could sit here and tell you that it’s because I’ve been doing this for so long and I know exactly what I’m doing, but that would be a bold-faced lie!!

The real truth is that there are some things that come naturally to me (like talking to people), but there are also things that I’ve strategically thought out ahead of time. Before I ever begin an interview with a guest, there are a few things that happen and those are the things I’d love to share with you today.

Why This Is Important?

I don’t want you to have any awkward moments on your show. 
And I don’t want you to have these excuses either: 
“I wasn’t sure how things needed to happen…”
“I thought I could turn on the mic and things would just, ya know, work…”
“I believed that all of this worked on auto-pilot…”
“I was faced with an awkward situation that was completely unexpected!”

So let’s pull back the curtain on podcast interviews and let me tell you everything that I know!

Steps to Take BEFORE
a Podcast Interview

1. Send Guests Show Guidelines Ahead Of Time

Have you ever been on a podcast?
Or written a guest post for a blog?

What typically happens is that the host of the blog or podcast will send you the guidelines for their show/website. This is just really a way of formally setting the expectations for what is to come.

It also mentally prepares the guest for:

  • The Format of the Show
    • Will you be interviewing them alone? With a co-host?
    • Do you send them questions ahead of time?
    • Will there be a segment of the interview where they can plug their business/services/etc?
  • The Length of Time for the Interview
    • How long does the entire process take?
    • Should they set aside an hour or two for the entire process? Or will it only take 20 minutes?
  • An Opportunity to Ask Questions Before You Start the Interview
    • People don’t often know they have questions until they’re prompted with words that answer their subconscious thoughts. “Oh yeah, I was thinking about that,” was the response I had when I read the guest posting guidelines for a blog I wrote for. 
    • The goal is to eliminate all uneasiness your guests may have so they feel comfortable well before your interview.

IT’S OKAY TO MESS UP!

There’s also a section in the guidelines where I let the guest know it’s totally okay if they screw up! Now I understand that other people may not give that kind of warning. But, I live and work in an environment I can’t always control. 

And I know that if I was going to be a guest on someone’s podcast and the host said, “Hey it’s totally fine if your kid busts into the room screaming they have a poopy diaper or your dog starts barking or your doorbell rings. I get it….that’s life! We can totally edit those things out!” I’d feel a lot better about the whole thing.

So, that’s what I tell my show guests.

Not taking the entire interview too seriously helps them ease up a little bit and get comfortable.  Remember, the goal is to eliminate uneasiness for your guest.

Come on. Let’s be good hosts! 

2. Prepare Questions Before Interview

Procrastination is my middle name. (Well, not really. Blair is my middle name because it’s my maiden name, but you know what I mean!)

Procrastination has been a character flaw I’ve had since I was a little kid!
I was always the kid that waited until the night before to start that months-long Science Fair project.
I was the one pulling the all-nighter in college trying to cram for an exam.
And I still wait until the very last minute to organize birthday parties for my kids! (But you know what saves my butt every single time? Pinterest! Thank God for Pinterest! #PinterestForTheWin)

I’m working to do better.

But when it comes to podcast interviews…GIRRRRL! I ALWAYS prepare questions before my interviews! (Granted, these questions may not be done until five minutes right before, but I still get them done.)

The reason I take this step so serious is that I genuinely respect the guests on my show. So I don’t want to waste their time (or mine) trying to figure out where the conversation should go or trying to come up with questions right on the spot.

Yes, there have been times when I don’t use all of my questions.
Yes, there have been conversations that go in unexpected directions…
But I believe that is part of the magic that is The Rookie Life!
I’m still a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl and this is how I like my podcast to run.

SHOULD I SEND QUESTIONS BEFORE THE INTERVIEW?

A question I get a lot is whether to send guests the questions before an interview. Short answer: No. I don’t send the interview questions.

Because spontaneous conversations can’t happen when y’all both know what’s coming. Plus, it’s so much more enjoyable to listen to people genuinely talking than listening to two people who know exactly what the other person is going to say.

If I would have known those little nuggets of wisdom that were revealed during an interview, the audience would’ve missed out on the reaction and excitement in my voice when I found out something interesting!

(Like when Janine told us she was held at gunpointWHHHHHHAAAAAATTTT?)

That is why your listeners will keep coming back each week.
They want those genuine conversations.

So I encourage you to be prepared for your podcast interviews, but don’t sound like a robot! That’s not fun for anyone to listen to!

If you’d like to see an example of The Rookie Life Podcast show guidelines, I invite you to grab a copy. You can access them here in the FREE Resource Library filled with other great podcasting tips & strategies.

3. Decide Ahead of Time How Long the Conversation Should Be

If you already have a podcast, you know generally how long you want your average show is.
If you don’t have a podcast, then this is one of the first things I encourage students in Rookie Podcasting to think about.

Do you want each of your episodes to be 15 minutes long? An hour?
Do you want the average show to be around 45 minutes?

These are all things to consider before you ever hit RECORD for your interview.

You also have to take into account all of the additional time that goes into the podcast production for each episode. Meaning your introduction, the outro, music, self-sponsored ads, calls-to-action, and so on.

Have a Number in Mind

Before I hit record during any of my podcast interviews, I tell myself, “Okay I want this interview to be between 30 minutes and 45 minutes from the time we start ’til we stop.”

(Just a little behind the scenes of how I record my show, I spend an intentional 2-5 minutes with my guests to make sure they feel comfortable before I start recording. I don’t want to hop on the call and then say, “Hey! Now we’re LIVE!!” That would sound terrifying to someone who’s never been on a podcast! I encourage you to spend a few minutes working the jitters out before you start recording.)

After I hit RECORD, I take note of the time.  Then I’ll watch the clock from time to time – not obsessively though –  to see where we are. (Maybe I should invest in a stopwatch? Nah…I like flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, remember?)

The reason why I do this is that there have been times when a guest was nervous to say more than “Yes, No, Sure, Maybe” answers. It’s like pulling teeth! Trying to get the interviewee to give me just a teensy-bit more. Those types of interviews are actually harder to conduct than the ones where people can’t stop talking!

Always be aware of your time!

When I glance a the clock and realize we’ve only been chatting for about 10 minutes (though it’s felt a lot longer), I try to think of questions that’ll help us dig a little deeper. “How can I get them to tell more of their story?” Or other leading questions are a great place to start. (You’ll get better at this the more you interview! Promise!)

Once I know that we are approaching the time I decided on from the beginning, I let the guest finish their train of thought. Then I simply say, “Alright, now we’re moving on to the next segment of the show – our Keepin’ It Real Questions.” 

Like I said above, you’ll get better at managing your time and asking the right questions and moving on when necessary. 

Steps to Take DURING
a Podcast Interview

1. Be Yourself!

People can tell when you’re fake!

They can smell it a mile away like a dead skunk bakin’ in the Texas sun on the side of the road! (Yeah, I’ve been on a lot of road trips in the summer here in Texas! That ain’t pretty!)

So just be yourself. Even if you’re nervous, tell them you’re nervous. (This is another reason why I encourage students to start their first podcast interviews with people that they already know. You’re probably going to be nervous at first and it’s nice to have a familiar face/voice/person giving you grace as a Rookie podcaster.)

If they’re nervous, try to ease their nerves before you start recording. I find that most interviews are like a phone conversation that you’re having with a new friend. So pretend like you’re sitting in a coffee shop, drinking your espresso, and getting to know each other.

Be Real

I understand that the entire point of the interview is to get down to business, but if you have a crappy interview…then that’s exactly how your podcast episode is going to sound… CRAPPY!

Don’t try to sound like anyone else.
Don’t try to pretend like you know more than you do.
Let the other person talk!

The whole point of having an interview on a podcast is to put the spotlight on your guest. NOT YOU! You have the opportunity to talk about yourself anytime you want. Just not when you’re interviewing someone else. (I guess unless you have a funny story to tell…then those are always welcome!)

2. Let the Conversation Flow Naturally

It’s okay if you don’t get around to all the questions you wanted to ask. But don’t you dare cut someone off just because you want to make sure you read every single one of your 17 questions.

(By the way, 17 questions is way too many!)

On average I have between 5 to 9 really good questions to ask my guests about:

  • Who They Are (Personal)
  • What They Do (Their Business)
  • General Things I’m Curious About

Then I use filler questions as we go. But speak your mind! If someone says they travel to a foreign country that genuinely piques your curiosity, ask them about it!

It’s probably the same questions that your audience is thinking so why not grab that question and answer it for them? By the way, you should know exactly who your audience is and what they want to hear from you – especially if you’re a Rookie Podcaster! 

So dive as deep as you can when you’re in the podcast interview. But don’t force a question when the timing doesn’t feel right or you can tell that your guest just doesn’t want to talk about it.

Don’t be the awkward podcast host!

And those are my tips for conducting the best podcast interview!  

I feel like I think about things way too deeply. Or that I spend a lot of time and headspace on things that don’t matter (like making sure I don’t say the word “like” too many times), but when it comes to interviewing I believe you can’t mess up if you just show up and be yourself.

Quick Tip: A good process to practice is to make sure that your guest’s values and principles are aligned with yours before you ever start an interview.
This will save you an awkward conversation or embarrassment for both of you.
You can identify your values and principles with your podcast guidelines too!
Trust me on this. #nomoawkwardmoments

What are your biggest questions about podcast interviews?

I’d love for you to leave a comment below and tell me if you struggle with time, finding guests, or keeping a consistent calendar filled with content.

Be sure to check out the Podcast Setup post and Audacity Basics if you’re just getting started with podcasting. (And if you are, I’m SOOOO Excited for you!!) These will help you as you start finding people to interview and create the podcast of your dreams!

Keep It Up, Rookie. We All Have to Start Somewhere!

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HI, I'M Krystal Proffitt

Podcast coach, content strategist, best-selling author, lifelong cheerleader, and content marketer

Podcaster • Cheerleader • Coach •

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