Lessons from 100+ podcast interviews:
Don't ask the same mind-numbing questions. Ask guests about things they have never discussed publicly before. The more excited the guests are, the better the interview will go.
This is where the real gems come from. Probe and dive deeper when something is interesting. Deep listening and empathetic curiosity go a long way. Go off-script.
Get past canned answers
Try to ask questions differently if you feel the answers are too scripted. It’s ok to stay on a topic to get it shared the right way. Cut the fat after.
Order doesn’t matter
Feel free to return to something interesting earlier in their journey. The goal is to get interesting stories and “nuggets” pulled out. You can always reorder the podcast in editing.
Many of the best answers come after long pauses when the interviewee has to think hard for an answer. Let them stew. Don't break the silence.
Remember to enjoy! Make the discussion conversational and have fun with it. The excitement comes through in audio.
You want your guests to be open so be open yourself. The best interviews focus more on failures, setbacks, and vulnerability. Consistent up and to the right is boring.
Ask the guests to prep
Sending over some questions in advance helps the interviewee feel comfortable and prepare 3-5 good stories to knock out of the park.
It's a performance
This isn't a normal conversation. The interviewer should only talk as needed. Don't interrupt unnecessarily. Let the guest shine.
Set the tone early
Start with something fun. Ask the guest about something they are passionate about. Skip the usual background questions. You can cover that in the intro.
Listen to every other interview they've been on. Try to cover new topics. Prepare notes for your interview with things you want to touch on.
You are the guide
Tee up your interviewee with interesting anecdotes to knock out of the park.
“Tell me the story of…”
“Describe the decision to…”