make your podcast guests shine

How to make your podcast guests shine 

As a podcast host, you want your guests to shine. You want them to look their best because a. they will feel comfortable and happy with the experience and b. you get better content. You will likely have guests on your podcast with varying degrees of media experience so you can’t always bank on them knowing what to do. You need to take the lead. 

By employing a few simple techniques, you can ensure that your interviews are dynamic, informative, and captivating. In this blog post, we will explore strategies to optimise your guest interactions and make your podcast guests truly shine.

Why you should have guests on your podcast

Podcast guests can add a lot to a podcast. They bring a fresh perspective, exposure your show to a new audience and help build the authority of your show.

Where to find podcast guests

You can find podcast guests through your network, social media, Google searches and through events to name a few.

Taking the lead in podcast interviews

As the podcast host your guests will expect you to take the lead both before and during the interview. Even experienced people who have their own podcast will still expect you to take the lead on your podcast. 

Be prepared so you feel confident going into the interview. This will help you to come across as more assertive and to make guests feel more comfortable. If you’re nervous, they are more likely to be nervous. 

Read more about making your podcast sound professional. 

Make your podcast guests shine

make your podcast guests shine

Your show has a lot riding on your guests so it really is worth putting some time and energy into making sure your guests are amazing. 

Have an intro call 

Before hitting the record button, take advantage of an introductory call to gauge your guest’s energy and communication style. This preliminary conversation allows you to build rapport and establish a comfortable atmosphere. By understanding your guest’s demeanour, you can tailor your approach accordingly.

Dedicate time to establish rapport

Rather than jumping straight into the interview, allocate 10-15 minutes at the start of the call to foster a connection with your guest. This initial conversation helps to ease any tension and allows both parties to become more comfortable. Building a foundation of trust and understanding will enhance the quality of the interview that follows.

Adapt to your guest’s energy and communication style

Not all guests thrive in the same interview environment. Some may be more comfortable with specific questions, while others prefer a conversational approach. Pay attention to their cues and adapt your interviewing style accordingly. Matching their energy and communication style helps to foster a more productive and enjoyable conversation.

Have a plan A, B and C for getting information from your guests

Everyone communicates differently so your guest might not quite get where you’re going with a certain anecdote or question. Some people need to be asked a question very specifically while others are happy to share stories back and forth without any questions really coming into it at all. 

The ABC question format provides a structured framework for engaging your guests effectively. This format consists of three components:

A: Anecdote: Begin by sharing a personal story related to the topic you wish to discuss. For instance, if you want to talk about the impact diet has on mental health, you could share a story about how you realised certain foods were negatively impacting your mental health. Some guests would pick this up and start talking about the links between diet and mental health. Others won’t.

B: Backup Question: If your guest doesn’t immediately respond or provide the information you were hoping for, have a backup question prepared. Further to the above example this question should prompt them to share the information you were angling at. In the above example this might be. “Is there a link between diet and mental health?”

C: Plan C: If the guest remains vague or elusive, ask a direct and focused follow-up question based on what you want them to talk about. You can bring more of your knowledge on the topic in for this one too. For instance, you could say “I read your paper about inflammation in the gut caused by food affecting mental health. Can you tell us more about your findings?”

Encourage personal anecdotes 

make your podcast guests shine

Injecting personal anecdotes and stories into your podcast episodes adds a layer of authenticity and relatability. In your guest pitch, include a line letting potential guests know you would love if they would share their stories. By encouraging guests to share personal experiences, you create a space for engaging and memorable conversations.

Implement a guest screening process

To ensure you have the right guests for your podcast, create an “Apply to be a guest” form using Google Forms or a similar platform. This form allows you to pre-screen potential guests based on their expertise, background, and suitability for your podcast. This step ensures that you bring on guests who align with your show’s objectives and will resonate with your audience.

Share topics in advance

While I don’t recommend sending fully formed questions, providing guests with an overview of the topics to be covered can be helpful. It gives them the chance to prepare the relevant facts, stats or other information. However, remember to maintain spontaneity and avoid excessively scripted interactions.

Happy guests = good podcast

By implementing these strategies, you can elevate your podcast interviews to new heights. The key lies in establishing a connection, structuring your questions effectively, adapting to your guests’ communication style, and encouraging personal anecdotes. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create engaging content that resonates with your audience and leaves a lasting impact. Happy interviewing!


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