Podcast Interviewer Tips

Last updated 18th of December 2019

Author Martin Burgess-Moon

Room with an Interview: Podcast Interviewer Tips

“Did you threaten to overrule him?” Does that question bring back any memories?  Try repeating it thirteen times.  Now does it bring back any memories?

That question was asked by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight on 13th May, 1997.  The same question asked fourteen times.  Do you remember who he was interviewing?

YEAH, BUT NO, BUT…

It was Michael Howard with reference to the DG of the prison service and a sacked prison governor.  It was a moment that went down in the history of interviews.  Incidentally, he didn’t get a straight yes or no answer.

There are a lot of articles, videos and even books on how to be a good interviewee, but it’s a rarity to get any tips and advice on how to be a good interviewer.  Well, far be it from us to criticise the great Paxo, but our first top tip would be to not ask the same question fourteen times.  After about the third time you ought to get the hint that you’re not going to get the answer you want.

We record a lot of interviews for podcasts and more often than not, it’s one of the interviewee’s colleagues that conducts the interviews.  So, if you’re planning on being the interviewer on a podcast, here are some of the things we’ve observed and learnt along the way.

If you're a PR professional researching podcasts for your clients, we'd be happy to discuss how we can partner with you to help them build audience reach and engagement. Call us today on 01752 229246.

RESEARCH, THEN FORGET…

Your interviewee will be clued up on their subject or topic, so you need to be just as knowledgeable.  Usually, with corporate podcasts, a series of questions, bullet points or subjects are agreed beforehand.  However, the interview could end up going off in any direction once you get going.

In order to keep the recording sounding natural, you won’t want to be slavishly following a script and that means there could be a fair amount of spontaneity or improvisation.  So, be prepared … but don’t slavishly follow your notes.

DON’T JUST TALK – LISTEN AND REACT

Your interviewee might be nervous, so make them feel at ease.  Have a chat beforehand, go over what is likely to be covered and try to match their mood and gestures.  Obviously, don’t mimic or impersonate them!  That would be silly.

Also, get the hint when an answer isn’t going anywhere or when you feel your interviewee is done covering a specific subject.  Move things along and you’ll both keep things flowing nicely.

LISTEN UP!

We’ve already pointed out that interviews can go off in any direction.  The best way to encourage that is to listen.  If you find an answer is so interesting that it should be expanded upon, ask a follow-up question before you move on to your next planned question.

You never know, you could end up covering topics and getting great content that was completely unplanned.  So, listen up and think before you continue with your planned questions.

Are your clients asking about podcasts for their content marketing and you just don't know where to start? Our white-label podcast services can provide everything from concept to distribution. Call us today on 01752 229246 to discuss your options.

PAUSE FOR A GOOD CAUSE

If you think your interviewee has finished their answer, don’t immediately leap in with the next question.  Pause for a few seconds.  Your guest might use the pause to think of more things to say and these can often be the best things they say during the entire interview…!

If they end up saying nothing, then don’t worry.  The pause can always be edited out.

RAISING INTEREST RATES

Look interested and sound interested in what your interviewee has to say.  Be genuinely enthused and you’ll get more out of them.

As part of your research, don’t just look into the subject, look into the interviewee.  Find out what they’re interested in.  When you’re making small talk before recording, discuss some of their non-work interests and find some common ground.  By the time you get to recording, you’ll be getting on like a house on fire.

PAUSE FOR THOUGHT

Incidentally, seven years after his infamous Newsnight appearance, Michael Howard was interviewed on the show once more by Jeremy Paxman.  He asked Howard that question again.  “Are you really going back over that again?  As it happens, I didn’t”.

So, he finally got his answer.  Although, a seven years’ pause was perhaps a bit longer than the pauses we’ve suggested here.

Of course, every interview is different and you might have your own thoughts, tips and advice on how to carry out an effective interview.  If so, let us know…!

We provide podcast services for internal communications and business marketing. We can even partner with your PR or marketing agency to offer your clients the full podcasting experience. Call us to discuss your needs on 01752 229246.

 
 
Kite

More recent blog articles...

What do Podcast Production Companies do?

What should you expect from a professional podcast production company?

Read more...

Telling Trails on a New Plymouth App

Welcoming the voice of Plymouth Trails to our studios

Read more...

How Often Should You Publish Your Internal Comms Podcasts?

What factors determine how often you produce your internal podcast?

Read more...

How Are You Sharing Your COVID-19 Safety Procedures with Customers?

Animations are a great way to share vital information while keeping things simple and memorable

Read more...