Hosting a podcast seems easy to most people... until they do it. The truth is that interviewing a guest is both a skill and an art. If you simply get hit the record button and start talking, it's unlikely you'll have many people listening.
So what does it take to host a podcast? In this article, we're going to take a deep dive into the art of interviewing.
It all starts with guest selection
Too many times, podcast hosts put the "I'm looking for guests on my podcast. Do you want to share your story?" line out and then wait like they are fishing the waters of the Atlantic as they stand by waiting for excited guests to reach out. Inviting someone on your show mostly because you need a guest can be disastrous. Or at the very least, not do anything remarkable to grow your podcast and achieve your goals.
Guests should be selected thoughtfully because they fit the format, ideals, and topic of your podcast. They can and will add value to your audience. They should be the type of person that you believe your audience would want to connect with and you find yourself filled with questions that you'd love to hear their take on. In other words, your potential guests should intrigue you.
Ask for a bio and headshot
Your guest will probably have a biography, or bio, and headshot (photo) available. Make sure to ask them early to send you this. The bio will provide you with some background on who they are and will also give you some good talking points when you are ready to introduce them to your audience.
Research, Research, Research!
It's so easy now to pull up Google or Bing (or some similar search engine) and do a search. Start looking for more details on your guest, their life, their accomplishments, and their challenges. Make sure you are looking at what you feel are reputable sources. Jot down notes and questions as you go, making special note of the questions or points that seem relatively significant to a timeline or advancing your guest's story along.
Ask questions that interest you
It can be easy to come up with simple to use questions like "what do you enjoy?" and "what was your biggest challenge?" Dive deeper. A great example is a question that makes your guest think and connects with the emotions of your audience, such as "When you encountered that challenge, how did it make you feel?"
Practice active listening
Actively listening to your guest will give you the opportunity to shape your interview into a conversation. Listen for important facts, details, or small things that will cement the storyline. But don't get so caught up in those details that you let them wander off. As the host, it's ultimately your responsibility to keep the guest and the show focused.