How to Improve Your Podcast Interviewing Skills

“The guest is the star of the show.”

If you invite people on your podcast - experts, gurus, and influencers, you probably keep this quote in mind so much that you even recite it in your sleep.

The question is: How does this statement impact your preparations and your interviewing skills?

If you’re like me who’s new to hosting my own show and is still in the process of ‘befriending’ my mic (Yes, I still have pre-recording jitters just thinking about being in front of my microphone.), then learning the interviewing skills listed below will help shake those interview jitters off.

This week, I share how you can make the mindset shift about who’s the ‘real star’ on your show as well as how you can better prepare yourself - and your guest - for that much-anticipated interview.

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Tip #1: Consider Your Guest as the Co-Star of Your Show

Share the Spotlight

Our very own Podcast Rockstars guest Yann Ilunga on the episode Podcast Guesting: Improving Your Interviewing Skills & Being a Great Guest gives us a fresh perspective about who’s the real star of the show.

“I feel that the guest is the co-star of the show. So I feel that the guest and the host should share the spotlight.
— Yann Ilunga

Yann Ilunga is a podcasting consultant who speaks five different languages and has hosted four podcasts over the years. Forbes labeled the Podcast Growth Mastermind group, one of Yann’s creations, as the “Podcast Community to Join.”

In case you haven’t noticed (or have a hard time believing): You are the star of your show.

Whatever outcome your podcast is gaining, you are one of the primary factors that contribute much to that change.


Because you are the face of the show, not your guest, but you can share the spotlight with your guest and - together - create an inspiring episode.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of preparation in an interview episode.

Learn more about your guest. Do your homework - research. Listen to past interviews or read about their opinion on specific matters.

In your research, take note of the things that impact you and mention these during the interview.

Your guest will be surprised - in a good way, and probably thank you for it - that you did your homework and came in prepared.

Add Your Own Thoughts, Ideas, Opinions to the Conversation

Don’t be afraid to share your insights.

Yes, your guest may be the expert or the guru, but that doesn’t mean you cannot express your opinion about the topic at hand.

Add to the conversation. Your thoughts and realizations as the host are what makes your show unique and interesting to your listeners.

Remember, guests come and go. You?

As Yann says...“You, as the host, are the common denominator.”


Tip #2: Help Your Guests Prepare for Their Interview

Tell Them What Topic You Want to Talk About When You Invite Them to Be a Guest

There is nothing wrong with spontaneous conversations in an interview episode.

But when you’re interviewing someone about a specific topic, it would greatly help you and your guest to stay on the same page.

Tell your guest what your show is about. Give him or her an idea about your audience.

Then, send out three big questions that your guest needs to address or comment on. Leave room for spontaneity - follow-up questions that are inevitable once the interview gets exciting.

Let Them Know If You Edit the Episode -- Or Not

Informing your guests about whether or not you’re going to edit the interview would help them prepare physically and mentally.

A simple sneeze or getting tongue-tied will impact the overall experience of your show if left unedited.

So, give them a heads-up so they can set their minds to it. This advice is especially helpful to guests who don’t have much experience with talking in front of microphones.

Make Your Guests Feel Comfortable -- Even Before You Hit “Record”

A small talk before hitting the ‘record’ button goes a long way. It allows your guest to have an overall feel of how it is to have a chat with you. It also enables your guest to foresee the flow of the interview.

Also, one of the surefire ways to make your guests comfortable is to let them know what’s up ahead.

So, go back to the tip mentioned above and inform them if you’re editing the recording. Uncertainty is one of the enemies of self-confidence and self-esteem.


Tip #3: Encourage Your Guest to Promote Their Show

Don’t Be Pushy; Make It Easy

One of the cardinal sins that many podcasters make is to oblige their guest to promote their interview episode.

There’s nothing wrong with encouraging your guests to do so. If they do, that’s awesome!

But before you send out that notification email that the episode is about to go live, take the extra mile and check out which platforms your guests spend most of their time on.

Once you figure this out, provide your guests with marketing assets they can use. Whether it’s clickable tweets or an infographic, these attachments and marketing resources would go very along way.

Don’t force your guest, but make it easy for them to promote their show.


Highlight the Star and the Co-Star!

How does knowing that you, as the host, are the Star of the Show impact the way you see yourself and an interview episode?

Whatever you say or do will impact your podcast in the same way as the guest would. An interview episode is a partnership between you and your guest. One is not superior over the other.

So, munch on these nuggets of wisdom and digest them before you jump into your next interview. Remember, unless you change your mindset about your role - and your guest’s, you will never reach your full podcast interviewing potential.


Your Turn!

What interview skill has worked best for you? Let’s learn from each other! Share them in the comments below.