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How to “Star” In a Podcast Interview

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How to “Star” In a Podcast Interview

July 26
18:57 2019
Knowing how to ask the right questions when you are doing an interview will make the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary podcast!

After interviewing people who are not famous and those who are, like Ice Cube and former President George W Bush, I can tell you following these five concrete steps will turn you into an expert interviewer.

STEP ONE:

Google the person. That seems obvious, but there are some secrets about googling for an interview; you’re not finished after you have done a general google search. Next, you need to google the person using the “news” tab and the “video” tab. The first google search is only going to give you results that have the most hits online, and that means your results may not include the most recent news about the person.

STEP TWO:

This step follows logically from step one. Watch interviews or listen to podcasts that person has done with other interviewers. This is sometimes where you can get your best ideas for questions. It doesn’t mean you copy the questions someone else has asked, but their questions or the answers the person gave will give you ideas for your own.

STEP THREE:

This is one of the essential steps I teach young inexperienced TV producers. Make notes on the most important points you want to ask about after doing steps one and two and prepare the first draft of questions. Then, step away from your research and think of the questions you would ask that don’t come from google. Think about and include the questions you would naturally ask the person if you had the opportunity to meet. Walk away from the questions you think you are supposed to ask and add the things you would just naturally want to know.

STEP FOUR:

Craft your questions in a way that will ensure an exciting answer. For instance, instead of asking “What was it like working on this new film project?”, you might ask, “Tell me the best and worst part of working on this new film?”. Do you see the difference in those approaches? It’s optimal to set up a question that will elicit an exciting answer. Other techniques are, “What’s your favorite…” or “What are your top 3…”; the “favorite” question could be to a chef about what’s on his menu, and the “top 3” question might be asking someone the top 3 songs on his playlist. Frame your questions to get interesting, specific answers.

STEP FOUR:

Know your material well enough to go “off script.” How many times have you watched or listened to an interview and thought to yourself, “Did the interviewer listen to what the person said?” That usually happens when the person doing the interview is nervous about making sure to get all the questions in or is merely going through the motions and following a script. It’s critical to understand your material well enough to be able to follow up on what the person you are interviewing says and then naturally get back to the questions you want to ask.

If you follow these four steps, you are well prepared to do a great interview, which brings us to the fun part, actually doing the interview, and…

STEP FIVE:

Before you begin the interview, spend a few minutes chatting with the person. Most people who are being interviewed are at least a little bit nervous, and breaking the ice will always result in the person you are interviewing letting down his or her guard just a little, which is of course what you are looking for.

I have a FREE media workshop that talks more about these and other dynamics that can help you conduct better podcasts to even help you learn how to take your podcast on TV to a greater audience. Head over to www.janemcgarry.com to learn more.

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