How to Prepare for a Podcast Interview

Written by Adam Spencer

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You’ve found a guest for your show, they are an expert in their field or they have an interesting story or take on a particular topic that you believe will be valuable to your audience. The day of the interview comes around and your guest is nervous, they are having trouble getting their answers out, wanting to do take after take and the interview is not going smoothly at all. 

This can be a challenge for a lot of people. Being recorded. It adds an element of pressure. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

First of all, as the host of the show, even if you have a producer, it’s my opinion that the buck stops with you. If your guests are uncomfortable, nervous and aren’t performing the way you’d like them to be. It’s your fault, no one else’s and especially not the guests fault. Own that. 

It’s your job to make sure that your guests are well prepared and ready and most importantly feel comfortable around you. 

You want your guests to feel as prepared as possible so you can eliminate as many of the day of jitters. Especially for guests who don’t do a lot of public speaking and interviews.

So, here are a few tips you can use to best prepare your guests.

Below I’m going to share some points to help your guest on the day of, but before that it’s important to realise that prepping your guest starts a long time before the day of the interview. 

A One-Pager Outline

Related: Send your guest a one pager before the interview with an outline of what they can expect.

Send them a one-pager with the questions you’ll be asking. But also add a disclaimer that sometimes you may go off script, because at the end of the day a good interview is a great conversation. 

Also, send them another one-pager that has an outline of what they can expect on the day and what they can do to prepare. 

Be sure to reiterate that “we’re just having a chat. Yes we’re recording, but we’re not live, so we can cut out anything you don’t want in and you’ll have the opportunity to listen to the interview before we publish it.”

The Day Of The Interview Tips

Related: It’s also a good idea to have your guest sign a media release.

  1. Don’t worry about the umms and ahhs when you’re talking. Just be natural. Just focus on listening to the question and answering it the best you can.
  2. Start your sentence over. If you got off to a bad start, don’t be afraid to ask if you can start again. 
  3. Have a glass or bottle of room temperature water available. That’s what singers use to help prep their voice and relax their vocal cords for singing. 
  4. I also recommend a cup of tea or coffee, but that’s for a different reason entirely. Having your favourite hot drink can help calm any nerves you might have. 
  5. Generally speaking 4 finger widths is a good microphone distance. Just put your hands in front of your mouth like you’re praying and put the microphone on the other side of your pinky finger. That’s a good distance to stay from the microphone. 
  6. You should have headphones on so you can hear yourself in real time. So even though 4 finger widths is a good place to start, you should still adjust your distance based on what you’re hearing through the headphones. Different microphones differ in sensitivity, so just be cognisant of that. 

Related: Good Microphone Technique.

  1. Speak about what you know about. Audio is one of the most easy mediums to pick up if you don’t know what you’re talking about. 
  2. Finally, just relax, have fun.

The best two pieces of advice I have for you are; be well prepared for the interview in advance and relax, you’re just having a chat. There are no rules. Have fun with it.