This is a guest post from Todd Uterstaedt. Todd is the founder and host of the popular “From Founder to CEO” podcast. He is on a mission to ensure Founding CEOs have the leadership tools necessary to build, scale, and lead the company of their dreams. Todd has published over 100 interviews with some of the hottest Founding CEOs around the world.
One of the things that I have found that ensures my podcast interview turns out GREAT, is focusing on the comfort of my guest. When your guest is comfortable, you increase the odds they will share deeper insights. They start to feel like it’s ok to be vulnerable and tell stories that they may not have shared with someone else. These stories may connect better with your audience, reveal truths that move hearts, and teach techniques that can be practically implemented. The point is, a comfortable and relaxed guest is much more valuable than a guarded guest whose interactions and interview are at best superficial in nature.
So, what can you do to make your guest more comfortable? Here are five easy things you can implement right away.
1. Share questions, format, outline, or intent of the show before the interview.
If you do not have a relationship with your guest, it’s best to establish trust by sharing the questions, format, outline, or intent before the interview. Don’t be arrogant and assume your guest is a listener of your show. Be grateful that they agreed to be a guest. By sharing some level of detail about your show, they are more likely to engage in a deeper way when your previous communication matches what they hear during the interview. You are now more believable and they can settle into the interview knowing you are a person of your word.
2. Handle technology before the interview.
If you are using technology, which is advised to ensure quality, just let them know what you recommend for equipment, settings, and tools a few days before the interview. I use ScheduleOnce for scheduling my interviews and I include the technical information in that system communication. Let your guest know you are available for any tech questions before and during the interview. That will ease some of the tech anxiety that some guests encounter. If you intend to use RINGR for your interview, share this well before your interview. That way they can ensure their phone is charged and their ear buds are available. The key is to make it easy and tools like RINGR make that possible.
3. Share and ask for some “ground rules” before you get started.
People actually like “ground rules.” They provide many with a sense of comfort knowing you have some “ground rules” for the show. For me, I let my guests know that it’s a clean, curse free show because I hope that families will listen with their children. I also tell them that we strive for thirty minutes, but to relax knowing that is a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. You may even want to consider asking them for their “ground rules.” Are there any topics, issues, competitors, or people that they would prefer you avoid during the conversation? Honor your promise and you’ll be surprised how much more they share in other areas.
4. Get to know your guest before you start recording.
My colleague, Amy, is often fond of saying, “connect before content.” I schedule an hour for my 30-minute interview because I want to get to know my guest before and after the actual recording of the show. We talk about the weather, where they currently are located, sports, their day, etc. Obviously there are a lot of things to talk about. But, focus on your guest. One question that always elicits a positive response is, “How do you pronounce your name.” It shows you care. Then, ask them if they have any questions for you. If they don’t have any questions for you, that’s ok. The simple fact of asking means you are connecting before you get to the content of the recorded show.
Oh, and don’t forget to be very clear about one very important thing. Let them know you are not recording yet. When you start recording, be very explicit about when you hit the record button. That often changes their entire demeanor.
When I first started my podcast, my guests would often ask me if they could listen to the show before it was released. I’m not a big fan of doing this. It creates a bottleneck in your production process. However, I now do one thing before the interview that has eliminated that request by 100%. I tell my guest that it’s my job to make them sound even better than they already are. I tell them that if they say anything or I say anything that they don’t like, I won’t stop recording because they can say so during the interview and that will be my reminder to fix that when I edit the show. This almost always makes them feel comfortable and they open up more and worry less.
I hope this quick list helps you create some great podcast interviews.
Please feel free to send me any questions you might have. firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to hear some of Todd’s work? Check out some of his favorite interviews at: http://fromfoundertoceo.com/.
About Todd Uterstaedt:
Todd’s entrepreneurial journey started after serving as a decorated U.S. Army Intelligence Officer and successful Vice President of a global organizational development company. Todd liquidated his retirement funds to co-found Baker & Daboll, LLC, one of Greater Cincinnati’s leading executive coaching firms.
Since then the company has not only launched the global platform, “From Founder to CEO,” but he and his colleagues also launched the acclaimed “Daughters in Charge” platform that supports the develop of daughters around the world who work in their family businesses.
Todd has been profiled, interviewed, and quoted in many media outlets such as PBS Television, Wall Street Journal Radio, The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, Inc. Magazine, CNNMoney.com, American City Business Journals and many publications in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lives.
As an expert in entrepreneurial leadership development, he earned his BA in Communication Arts from Hofstra University in New York and his MS in Organizational Leadership from Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati. He lives in Greater Cincinnati Ohio with his wife and two children.
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