Hey Folks! We’ve arrived at episode 4 of Podcasting 101, brought to you by Google Podcasts and PRX. This is Luvvie here - back to help you tackle one of my favorite topics - interviewing.
What a privilege it is for people to share their lives and their stories with you. It’s big! It’s deep. It’s powerful stuff.
But, you gotta know - there’s an art to getting a good interview. Powerful stories don’t just come outta nowhere...
First up - picking a great guest is key. Who do you want to talk to? Why is their story the one you want people to hear? It's ok to start with friends - but don’t be afraid to ask your heroes. You never know until you ask - and a NO won’t kill you!
Once you book your guest, then you gotta prepare. Find out everything you can about your guest or their story - all of it will help you figure out what the interview is really about.
Now you gotta write your questions in advance - where do you want this interview to go?
If there is a question they’re ALWAYS asked, they’re probably tired of answering it. So try to put a new spin on it.
The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be able to roll with something new.
So, here we go - now’s the big moment - the interview.
Number one … listen. This is your biggest job.
Number two - make your guest comfortable. This is more than just getting them a glass of water or finding a comfy place to sit. You set the tone. If you’re funny, you give them permission to be funny. If you’re vulnerable, they can be, too. The more it sounds like a natural conversation between two people, the better the tape.
And number three - some pro-tips:
Keep your microphone close
watch your recording level
-and here’s a new one, but a key one for interviewing: don’t turn your recording equipment off.
Turn your microphone on even before the interview begins - and let the person know you are recording and then let it roll the whole time. It’ll solve one of the great interview heartbreaks. Like when you turn off the recorder at the end and then your guest says the very best thing EVER. And it’s gone. Woo. It hurts.
One other thing - you want to be responsive so your guest knows you are listening to them. A good “hm, great point” is encouraging to whomever you’re talking to.
But keep in mind, silence is your friend - give people time to finish their sentences and wait a bit …maybe even a beat longer than feels natural … in that time, most people will jump in and say something even more meaningful.
Now do not shy away from emotional stories or stories. We LOVE emotions in audio - funny, sad, angry, disgusted. That’s the good stuff. The laughter! Be real and be human, that is how people will connect to the conversation.
Finally - that list of questions?...They are a guide. Do not be so unwavering that you don’t move away from the questions. Listen to your guests - ask them questions based on responses - and follow your curiosity. Some of my best interviews happened because a question I asked took us completely off script, but landed us in a better place. This is how stories your guest might never have told anyone … come out. Those are the gems - good stuff - the unexpected places the interviewee takes you.
Now remember, each interview is practice, so you'll get better each time.
Boom! You’ve got your tape. It’s time to put your story together. So join us for the next episode where Sean will help guide you through it. Looking forward to seeing you there!