Listen to module five:
Mastering the Art of Conversation: Elevate Your Interviewing Skills
There are many podcasts out there that focus on interviewing a guest each episode and this can be about anything depending on what your podcast’s main focus is. If you’re considering doing a podcast that relies on conversations and interviews with guests, you need to know how best to prepare for it so that your conversations are fun but you also get the most out of them.
Here are some steps to ensure you're well-prepared:
Research: A Solid Foundation
Get to know your guest's background, expertise, and experiences, especially in relation to the topics you'll discuss. This not only helps you craft meaningful questions but also shows your guest that you've taken the time to understand their perspective.
Define the purpose of your interview. What do you want to achieve? Whether it's sharing knowledge, exploring unique experiences, or sparking engaging discussions, having a clear goal guides your conversation.
Create a list of well-thought-out questions. Begin with open-ended inquiries that encourage insightful responses. Avoid yes/no questions, as they can lead to dead ends. Think about what your audience would find most interesting and relevant.
During your research, pay attention to any anecdotes, personal stories, or unique insights your guest might have brought up in other interviews or publications. These can be valuable conversation starters or points of deeper exploration.
While preparation is crucial, be open to unexpected twists and turns during the interview. Sometimes the most intriguing moments arise spontaneously, so don't be afraid to veer off your prepared questions if the conversation naturally heads in a compelling direction.
Attitude: The Interview Environment
Creating the right atmosphere for your interview is vital. Here's how to set a positive tone:
Start the interaction with a friendly and welcoming attitude. This immediately puts your guest at ease. A warm greeting and a smile go a long way in making them comfortable.
Respect and Boundaries
While you're aiming for a friendly rapport, always respect your guest's boundaries. Remember that you might not be friends, but you can create a comfortable, respectful space for a productive conversation.
Engage in casual conversation before recording. This helps break the ice and build a connection. Small talk about common interests can help both parties feel more relaxed.
Maintain a positive and enthusiastic demeanour. Your attitude sets the tone for the entire interview. If you're excited and engaged, your guest is more likely to be as well.
Active Listening: Unearthing Hidden Gems
When you're paying attention, you'll notice when your guest hints at something intriguing. It could be an unexpected story, a unique perspective, or a valuable insight. These are like hidden treasures waiting to be uncovered. Active listening enables you to recognise these moments and ask follow-up questions that dive deeper.
Paying close attention to what your guest is saying demonstrates respect and genuine interest. This builds rapport and trust, making your guest more likely to open up and share valuable information.
Active listening allows you to adapt on the fly. If your guest mentions something fascinating, you can pivot the discussion in that direction, creating a more engaging and organic conversation.
When you're actively engaged in the conversation, your enthusiasm shines through. Your guest can sense your genuine interest, which often leads to more enthusiastic and detailed responses.
Pro Tips for Active Listening
Maintain eye contact (if in person or via video call) to convey your undivided attention.
Avoid interrupting; let your guest finish their thoughts before responding.
Use verbal cues like "I see," "I understand," or "Tell me more" to encourage them to elaborate.
Take notes during the interview to jot down key points, potential follow-up questions, or interesting anecdotes.
Video Interviews: Chatter On Call
To ensure a successful online video interview that is of a good quality, ensure that your computer/phone has a stable internet connection and if possible, your guest too. This will prevent jittery audio that becomes difficult to understand.
To keep audio at a high level, if accessible to you, plug in studio microphones and headphones into the devices you are using so that you don’t sacrifice quality for an online call.
We all love to look at ourselves on a video call, but for your interview be sure to engage with your guest and look at them so they feel as though you’re interested in what they are saying. Remember your active listening!