It's time to uncover the potent power of storytelling that lies at the heart of every impactful podcast episode. Podcasts have emerged as a vibrant platform for sharing knowledge, inspiring change, and connecting with your audience on a deeper level. Through compelling storytelling and effective storytelling techniques, conscious creators like you can do more with their podcasts by forging meaningful connections with your audience that transcend time and space. But to do that, podcasters who want to make a good impact need to know and use the right interview techniques that can best bring out the most of their solo and guest interview episodes.
Podcast interview techniques are more than just a means to facilitate conversation; they hold the power to shape and elevate the listener's experience in profound ways. A well-crafted interview can transform a simple information exchange into a captivating narrative that resonates deeply with its target audience. By employing effective techniques such as thoughtful questioning, active listening, and skillful storytelling, podcast hosts can create an immersive and engaging experience that leaves a lasting impact on their listeners. This allows for the thoughtful exploration of ideas, insights, and personal stories that inspire, educate, and entertain - fostering a genuine connection between the host, the guest, and the audience.
The technique you adopt for your podcast interviews is instrumental in illuminating the distinctive insights and knowledge of your guests - a fact that holds particular significance for conscious creators and entrepreneurs. It's not just about asking questions; it's about shaping a dialogue that uncovers the essence of their journey and expertise.
A great interview can make a guest feel more than welcome, but also that they’re valued for their unique insight allowing listeners to gain valuable knowledge and inspiration from their experiences. Getting invited for an interview offers an opportunity for guests to authentically connect with their target audience, building trust and credibility, while also establishing their own personal brand or business that aligns with the podcast’s overall theme.
Podcast interviews, when done well, act as a powerful tool to amplify their message, reach a wider audience, and establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective fields.
Luckily the techniques aren’t hard to pick up and starting out with a handful of these techniques can help you make significant leaps in becoming a more thoughtful and conscious creator.
If you're new to the podcasting scene, here's a behind-the-scenes secret: a lot of successful podcasters prep their guests in advance. Sending questions to your guest before the interview is a practice that shows your professionalism and care for a seamless dialogue.
By providing these questions in advance, you allow your guest to prepare their thoughts, ensuring a more focused and insightful conversation. This pre-interview process also helps build rapport with your guest, as it demonstrates your commitment to creating a valuable and engaging experience and it has the added benefit of aligning your expectations, clarifying any uncertainties, and tailoring the interview to suit both your guest's expertise and the interests of your audience.
The best conversations all have naturally great chemistry that comes through with two people who genuinely are excited to be in each other’s spaces. So to recreate this magic, seek out guests who genuinely inspire and intrigue you and whose stories, experiences, or expertise align with your podcast's theme or resonate with your personal interests. By inviting guests who genuinely excite you, your enthusiasm and passion will shine through in your interviews, making for a more engaging and authentic listening experience. Audiences naturally gravitate towards genuine exchanges that have a natural chemistry and rapport during the conversation, allowing for deeper and more meaningful exchanges that resonate with your audience.
Take Liz J. Simpson’s podcast, Women Consulting Corporate - in the episode How One Pivot Led to 6-Figure Corporate Deals, she talks to Desiree Booker who shares her journey from “solopreneur” to business owner and gives enlightening advice on how ambitious women can get the ball rolling for themselves.
“If you can't see it, you can't achieve it. And so a big part of my transition was being around people who were achieving it because I could not see it for myself because I didn't see anyone else around me doing what I wanted to do.”
Audiences can be particularly sensitive to the flow of information and don’t take too kindly to interviewers who interrupt their guests. Even outside of podcast interviews, active listening is a fundamental skill that enhances the quality of your conversations. It involves giving your full attention to your guests, without interrupting or imposing your own thoughts, effectively creating a space for your guests to express themselves fully and authentically.
Show genuine interest in what they are saying, ask follow-up questions, and provide affirmations to let them know you are fully present. You can even go further by minimizing distractions during the interview by having a "no-devices on set" or turning off notifications, closing unnecessary tabs, and focusing solely on the conversation. This allows for a more fluid and organic dialogue, enabling your guest to share their insights and experiences in a meaningful way.
While your guest is aware of the general direction the conversation is going to take, they don't need to know every twist and turn. This is where probing questions come into play. They are your secret sauce for unlocking your guest's deeper motivations, uncovering challenges, and illuminating unique insights. You don’t always have to send probing questions in advance, but developing relevant probing questions to the ones you did send can help encourage introspection, elicit personal stories, and provide valuable insights that captivate your audience and unfold organically.
Here's a pro tip: While you're constructing your pre-sent questions, simultaneously think of probing questions that can branch off from the main ones. This helps you tap into personal stories and draw out introspection that resonates with your audience, and the conversation unfolds authentically.
The key here is to ask open-ended questions that invite thoughtful answers and be ready to pivot your follow-up questions according to the natural ebb and flow of your chat. Your goal? Keep it engaging, keep it real, and keep your audience hooked!
Learning from experienced interviewers is an excellent way to hone your own podcasting skills. Take note of your favorite interviewers and pay attention to their interviewing techniques, style, and delivery. Observe how they establish rapport with their guests, how they navigate through different topics, and how they ask thought-provoking questions. Analyze their pacing, tone, and the way they create a comfortable and engaging atmosphere. Incorporate what you learn into your own interviews while maintaining your unique voice and style and maintain the practice - this allows you to continually improve as an interviewer and create exceptional content for your listeners.
A crucial aspect of hosting a podcast interview is keeping the conversation flowing smoothly. Think of yourself as a conversation architect, designing seamless transitions between topics and creating natural bridges of connection. It's an art to let the conversation progress organically, while also ensuring it doesn't stray too far off course.
Remember, you have the steering wheel. Be mindful of the pacing and energy of the conversation, ensuring that it remains engaging and dynamic. When appropriate, gently redirect the conversation back on track if it veers off-course. Ensure that each question or topic builds upon the previous one, creating a cohesive narrative that captivates your audience from start to finish. By skillfully managing the flow of the conversation, you provide a seamless and enjoyable listening experience.
Crafting a compelling and accurate bio for your podcast guest before the interview is a thoughtful step that adds professionalism and personalization to the podcast experience. By taking the initiative to write the guest's bio, you not only save their time and effort but also ensure that the information presented aligns with the tone and style of your podcast. It’s also generally a nice gesture to be writing the bio, keep it flattering, and highlight the guest's achievements, expertise, and unique qualities that make them a valuable addition to your show.
In drafting the bio, be careful to maintain authenticity and avoid misleading or exaggerated claims. The best practice is to tailor the bio to resonate with your audience, focusing on aspects that are relevant to your podcast's theme or the specific episode. Engage in open communication with the guest to seek their approval and make any necessary adjustments. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of trust and respect between you and the guest even before the interview.
Keep in mind that a well-written bio serves multiple purposes: It introduces the guest to your audience, giving them a glimpse into the guest's background and expertise, which helps establish credibility and interest. It also sets the tone for the upcoming interview, generating anticipation and excitement among your listeners. By presenting the guest in a flattering yet accurate light, you set the stage for a meaningful and engaging conversation that aligns with your podcast's objectives and resonates with your audience.
These are only a handful of the techniques that we want to highlight but here are a few rapid-fire techniques to go even further: promote your guests’ content even after the interview, recommend related content made by your guest or other peers, and get feedback from your guests and audience.
There’s a lot more that can help to improve your interview styles but with these strategies, you have the opportunity to create a transformative experience for your audience, fostering deep connections and inspiring personal growth. We are storytellers, explorers, and facilitators, on a mission to unravel unique perspectives and voices. Our interviews are not mere conversations, they're a medium for inspiring, educating, and connecting. So step up to the mic, embrace your authentic self, and let's create some podcast magic that resonates with your audience and echoes in their minds long after the episode ends.