315 Twenty Two Tips To Improve Your Podcast Interviews

by Cliff Ravenscraft on July 4, 2013

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podintHey folks. Here is another episode that I pre-recorded before leaving for my two week family vacation. In this episode, I share twenty two tips that will help you improve your podcast interviews. These tips start 29 minutes into the episode.

I use the opening of the show to I discuss a few details related to a new sponsorship that I have worked out for two shows on my podcast network.

 
 
22 Tips To Improve Your Podcast Interviews (Starts at exactly 29 minutes into the episode)

  • When inviting a guest for an interview, be sure to clearly communicate the name of your show, the website address of your show, and what your show is about.
  • Explain why you would like to have this guest on your show.
  • Clearly communicate how long you are requesting for the interview to take place.
  • Be prepared by offering at least two to three time slots for the guest to choose from.  Be flexible if those are not a good fit for their schedule.
  • Once you confirm a date and time with your guest, be certain to communicate how the interview will be conducted.  Provide applicable information such as phone number or Skype contact ID, etc, and clearly communicate who is going to initiate the call.
  • If the interview is scheduled more than a week in advance, be sure to send a follow up reminder one week prior to the scheduled interview.
  • Regardless of when the interview is scheduled, send a follow up reminder the day before the interview.  Be sure to communicate, again, how the interview will be conducted, the contact information, and who will be initiating the call.
  • It should go without saying, but BE SURE TO INCLUDE TIME AND TIME ZONE information when sending requests and any confirmations or follow ups related to the interview.
  • Consider sending an outline of questions that you will cover in advance of the interview.
  • If something comes up on your schedule that would conflict with your scheduled interview, DO NOT PUT THIS OFF, immediately contact your guest and let them know.  Make sure to confirm that they received your message about the conflict.
  • Always MARK OFF AT LEAST 30 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED INTERVIEW to prepare for the call.  Make sure that you have no obligations that would keep you from being on time with your call.
  • Call your guest ON TIME!  Seriously, be very respectful of their time.
  • Do not go over your time scheduled for the interview.
  • Follow up with a thank you note. This can be done via email, but it has more impact when you send a card (or gift) by mail.
  • Be prepared to give an introduction of your guest rather than asking them to introduce themselves.
  • When asking a question, don’t continue speaking and answering the question for them by continuing to answer the question for them.
  • Don’t interrupt your guest when they are speaking.
  • Don’t give verbal agreements to every statement that they make.
  • Avoid questions that allow for simple one word answers.
  • Have an idea of the main points you desire to have come out within the interview, ask questions that get you to reach those goals and allow the conversation to flow.
  • Listen to your guest while they are speaking.
  • Make sure to learn how to pronounce your guests name correctly.

 
 
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24 comments
Hishandmaiden
Hishandmaiden

I am so very grateful to have found this podcast. I've recorded three interviews and I have made some of these mistakes. God truly answers prayer and I have such clarity on moving forward with my podcast show. God bless you, Cliff!

Christopher Hawkins
Christopher Hawkins

  • Once you confirm a date and time with your guest, be certain to communicate how the interview will be conducted.  Provide applicable information such as phone number or Skype contact ID, etc, and clearly communicate who is going to initiate the call.

This advice is worth its weight in gold.  On one of my early shows I forgot to mention that the interview would be audio-only via Skype.  My eager guest called in early, clearly dressed for the office despite working from home.  Ooops.  I felt about 2 inches tall for not mentioning we weren't doing a video call.

Not going to make that mistake again!


  • Don’t give verbal agreements to every statement that they make.

Guilty!  I'm working on this.


Great advice, Cliff, thanks.

PeteBillingham
PeteBillingham

Thanks Cliff for another interesting episode! You were on your vacation and I was walking the dog in the park, the power of podcasting, radio on demand - both sides! The real one that gets me going is - 

  • When asking a question, don’t continue speaking and answering the question for them by continuing to answer the question for them.

When podcasters have a 7 second question it's so off putting, this is a great piece of advice.

These 22 tips were really helpful for a newbie ... Thanks for all the great content!

JDSutter
JDSutter

Absolutely fabulous content in this episode Cliff. I couldn't agree with you more about this. It really turns me off from a show when I hear these types of problems.

Podcasters could really do themselves, and the community as a whole, a favor by taking a bit more time to hone their interviewing skills. When interviews are approached with professionalism it lends more credibility to your brand and also helps dispel the notion some have that all podcasters are amateurs who couldn't make it in "real" radio.

Thanks for this valuable set of guidelines.

michaelsbrooks
michaelsbrooks

Cliff, great show as always.  Perfect timing because I've been looking for ways to make my interviews better.  Hopefully @godlydad wasn't listening to my podcast when he wrote that...  But in all seriousness, these are great.  I can see where I have a lot of room for improvement.

Brad H
Brad H

Cliff---sounds like you were ranting and  going after some very popular shows ---like EoF?  Brad

SerenaTravis
SerenaTravis

Great list for interviews! I wish I had this list when I first started podcasting. :-) Thank you again, Cliff, for your dedication to high quality content.

LourdesWelhaven
LourdesWelhaven

GREAT episode and thank you for saving me from myself.  This episode had several messages that I needed to hear to make my show better...much much much better. 

godlydad
godlydad

Cliff, I am here to complain.  Your a nice guy and you put out some amazing content, but this episode has me upset at you.  You have ruined my podcast listening life!  I just got done listening to another podcast this morning and ALL I could think of was how the podcaster wouldn't shut up and let the person they were interviewing talk!  Throughout the interview, they would ask a question that literally took 30-60 seconds to ask.  Then when the guest answered, they did let that person talk, but once they finished, wham-o!  Off they went for another 2-3 minutes about how they liked what the guest said and how they do it too.  I kept yelling at the radio in my car, "Shut up and let them speak!"

Cliff, now I can't just sit back and enjoy podcasts anymore now that I know how it should be done and what to watch out for.  I'm constantly critiquing the shows now!  

** And just incase you didn't catch it, I am joking.  I'm not really mad at you, but it is true.  This episode has changed the way I listen to the podcasts I subscribe to.  Plus it's going to help me do a better job on my show in the future. 

Hope you had a great vacation!  Maybe one day in the future I can join you, your family and fans on one of these vacations.

ewrockford
ewrockford

Hey Cliff, 

     Eric Walker A-Z alum here! Just a head's up. I'm in Anshan, China for six weeks, about 150 miles from the border of North Korea, and I'm listening to the Podcast Answerman!

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@PeteBillingham So glad you enjoyed this episode.  Thank you so very much for taking the time to come to the site and publish this comment!!!!

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@JDSutter Thanks JD!  I am thrilled that you enjoyed the tips I've shared.  Doing my best to help podcasters to take their efforts to the next level. ;)

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@Brad H I can see where you might feel that way about this episode.  However, I can assure you that this episode was not directly aimed at any individual podcast at all.

John Lee Dumas is a good friend and I can prove that this was not aimed at EoF.  You see, the research and notes that led to the content of this episode were actually crated and documented in September of 2011.  You can see at least twenty of the tips listed above at this address: http://48days.net/group/podcasting/forum/topics/good-interview-etiquette.   If you check out http://www.entrepreneuronfire.com/about, you will see that John launched his show in September 2012, one year after these thoughts were being initially put into documented form.

While I have been known to "rant" on more than one occasion, I do not believe that this episode was anything more than me sharing my passionate views on interview etiquette.  

I knew, after I recorded this episode, that there would be at least 30 different podcast producers who would come away thinking that I was singling out their show.   However, I was simply sharing my collective thoughts on podcast interviews based upon my experience with them since 2005.  

Sorry if it came off sounding like a rant.  My desire was to give some tips that everyone could use to take their interviewing skills to the "next level."

Adam Silver
Adam Silver

@godlydad @Cliff Ravenscraft   YES.. I heard this episode as well, and then was referred to another podcast with an interview of someone I really like, and the person barely had a chance to anser the questions.  It was OH SO ANNOYING!  

Great episode Cliff.

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@ewrockford That's awesome!  I love the reach we have with our podcasts!  Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

Christopher Hawkins
Christopher Hawkins

@Cliff Ravenscraft @Christopher Hawkins 

It's so easy to make these mistakes, too.  Especially now, since I'm new, I'm afraid of silence, so I tend to jump on my guests right as I think they're done speaking (and sometimes they're not!).

I keep telling myself to relax....let the show breathe...if there are any truly pregnant pauses, my editor will remove them...and then I step on my guest again!  Ugh.

It's a learning process, for certain.

John Lee Dumas
John Lee Dumas

@Cliff Ravenscraft @Brad H Cliff, why do you hate EntrepreneurOnFire? hehe just kidding obviously! The year I spent in your incredible Podcast Mastermind exposed me to this article long ago. But like you say in every intro, it's all about taking our shows to the next level, and that means striving towards constant improvement...and this podcast is a shining example of ways we all can.

and 316 was another GREAT episode, mindset is huge. Thanks for sharing!

~ John Lee Dumas

Cliff Ravenscraft
Cliff Ravenscraft moderator

@John Lee Dumas @Brad H Thanks for backing me up John.  I'm super thrilled with all your success and what you are doing to push podcasting further into the mainstream.  Congrats on the MAJOR FEATURE in iTunes.

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