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Should you conduct a pre-interview with your podcast guests?

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Is a podcast pre-interview a time-waster?

Conducting a pre-interview for your podcast might seem like a pain when you’ve got so much to do for each episode.

But it can really help you get the most out of your podcast guest.

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Why are pre-interviews for your podcast a good idea?

They stop you wasting time in the actual interview

If you spend time during the pre-interview working out the best stories and advice your guest has to offer, you’ll be more able to focus on those areas during the actual interview.

Sometimes you’ll be able to get a lot of this information when you’re researching but this relies on your guest having a decent online presence.

If there’s not much information out there a quick catch-up on the phone can help you hone in on the interesting bits so you don’t waste time trying to find them when you’re recording.

The last thing you want to do is book 30 minutes with someone only to only get to the good stuff 20 minutes in.

A pre-interview can help you avoid that.

They help you build rapport with your guest

Meeting someone for the first time when you’re both in front of a microphone isn’t the most relaxed atmosphere to get to know each other.

Having a chat on the phone before you start recording can help you understand your guest’s conversational style and rhythm.

It can also give you an opportunity to get to know each other so that when you do start the questioning you’ve already developed a relationship.

The more time you have to build rapport and trust, the better your final interview will be.

They allow you to set expectations

Your guest will always feel more at ease if they know exactly what you expect from them and what they can expect from you e.g. How are you going to conduct the interview? Who’s your audience? What would you like them to prepare? What’s the structure of the chat?

The more information you can give them, the more comfortable they’ll be and the more comfortable they are the better the interview will be.

How to get the most out of your podcast interviews

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They help you test talent

Not everyone is a great talker and if you’ve booked a guest based on their social media profile or blog you might not have a clue whether they’re good at telling a story.

Since podcasting is all about audio you need to make sure your guests are good interview subjects, otherwise, it might not be worth having them on.

It’s better to find this out over the phone than when you’re sitting there ready to press record.

They give you the opportunity to establish boundaries

This is particularly important if you’re conducting a sensitive interview.

It’s a good idea to ask your guest if there are any topics they’d prefer not to discuss or any no-go areas.

It’s better to get this out of the way on the phone rather than in the actual interview.

It also helps your guest feel like they’re in safe hands and that you care about making sure they feel comfortable.

You can make sure you’re pronouncing their name right

It’s always a good idea to do that before you get them offside by saying it wrong 700 times in the interview.

Often they won’t correct you until after the interview is over and by that stage, it’ll be too late.

How many people should you have on your podcast?

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How can you conduct a pre-interview for your podcast?

Over the phone

If you can get your interview subject on the phone that’s great because it’s a better way to build rapport than over email.

Hearing your guest’s conversational rhythm and working out how they respond to you can be very useful things to know before going into a chat.

This is also a great way to work out whether they’re good interview talent.

Pre-interview survey

If you’re interviewing a lot of people and you know there are certain areas you’re always going to cover a survey can be a great option.

Just make sure the answers can be given quickly because no one wants to feel like they have to do homework to come on your show (unless your show is a really big deal).

Learn how to start your own podcast

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Things to remember if you’re conducting a pre-interview

Don’t do the interview in the pre-interview

You want to get a sense of the best questions to ask, or where to focus the chat but you don’t want to know everything.

If your guest is telling a funny story, it’s best to hear it for the first time when you’re recording rather than pretending you’re hearing it for the first time.

The more genuine your interaction is the more it’ll keep an audience engaged

Don’t fake it

If you know where a story is going, don’t feel like you have to say “OMG! Are you kidding?”

Your listeners will be able to tell if your reaction is authentic and you don’t want them thinking you’re faking it.

You’re the host so you should be guiding the conversation and that means it’s ok if you know where it’s going.

It’s your listeners who should be learning about things for the first time.

Got a burning podcasting question you’d like answered? Send me an email.

Want to start your own podcast but need a little help? Download my “How To Start A Podcast” guide or sign up for my online podcasting course, PodSchool.

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