How the guest feels is the key to their interview on your podcast. By making the guest feel comfortable and confident, you put them in a position to be their best selves. When the guest is comfortable and confident, they will be the most willing to share great insights with you and your audience. According to Ethan Beute on an upcoming episode of Creating The Greatest Show, “the better experience I made for the guest, the better everything else would go”. Every decision you make about your podcast should be weighed to see if it will make the guest experience better or worse. But what can you do to help the guest relax and feel comfortable? It turns out, there are some pretty easy things that you as the host can do before, during, and after the interview to enhance the experience of your guests. In this post, we’ll be looking into what you can do prior to recording your podcast with a guest to make them feel more comfortable. Keep an eye out for upcoming blog posts on improving the rest of your guests’ experience.
Preparing Your Guest for the Podcast
Believe it or not, not everyone has listened to a podcast episode, let alone one of your episodes. Because of that, most guests won’t be familiar with the structure of your show, which can make the guests uncomfortable when they don’t know what to expect. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can bring your guests up to speed and help them flourish in the interview.
Using a Prep Call
A fifteen-minute prep call connects the guest and host and begins their relationship building. On the call, you can run through what they need for recording, the flow of the show, the main questions that you ask them, and any other pertinent information. You can even help them plan out their answer to your first question as this is what should provide a lot of the meat for your conversation.
Using a Landing Page or Video Message
In lieu of a prep call, you can direct your guests to a resource that you have created to walk them through the show. Include the same opening question that you always ask, some of the more important follow-up questions, and how you will end the show. This is a great resource for guests especially if there is a long time until their recording and they want to brush up on the style of the show.
Ask Your Guests to Listen to a few Episodes
There’s nothing wrong with asking your guests to listen to a few episodes of your show to get a better feel for the flow of the show. This way, they’ll hear not only the questions that you usually ask but also how guests are expected to respond to those questions.
Doing Your Homework before the Podcast
The guest experience of your show starts long before ever hitting record! The most important part of improving the experience for your guests is doing great prep work for them. Preparing in advance allows you to make sure the guest will feel seen, heard, and appreciated. And yes, this means going deeper than spending 30 seconds looking at their LinkedIn profiles. Guests can tell when you have actually put the work in to learn about them and engage with their ideas.
Read Their Book or Blog
Authors will know if you’ve read the back, first 30 pages, or the entirety of their book; so it’s important to actually read the whole thing! When you go through their book, read with a pencil! Afterward, compile all of the notes you have written and pick out 2-3 of the most interesting ideas. When you ask authors about them and can specifically reference their ideas, they will get much more engaged and will appreciate your effort so much more.
Check Them out on ListenNotes
Using ListenNotes, you can see if your guest has been on any podcasts before and then listen to their appearances. This will help you better understand who they are and the cadence of their speech. Hearing them on other shows helps you avoid interrupting them during the recording.
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If you want to keep reading blog posts like this one, here’s a recent post on how to repurpose tons of content from a single podcast episode: https://ringmaster.com/the-content-machine/