Speaker 1 00:06 Hello and welcome back to the audience podcast. I'm Craig Hewitt, your host from Castillo's. In the last few episodes of the podcast here we've been doing a lot of interviews and it's gotten me thinking a lot about, uh, how good of an interviewer I am honestly and, and the things that that I do well and the things that I want to improve on in the interviewing part of my podcasting life. And so today we're going to take a break from interviews to talk about interviewing. So this, the show is Mehta and a lot of ways and today maybe as a really good example of that, but today's going to be a really practical and tactic filled episode to talk about how we can all be better interviewers and ultimately serve our audience better. And so I think that's a really good place to start is we should always be asking ourselves, how can we better serve our audience?
Speaker 1 00:53 There's a quote by the folks at Pacific media saying that the question is not how can I build an audience for my podcast, but how can I build a podcast for my audience? Flipping this on its head a little bit to say not just, okay, I have a podcast, how can I grow the listenership? But there are people out there that want to hear about this thing. How can I create the content for them so that they come naturally and want to kind of hear more about me and my podcast and the topic that I'm talking about. And so I think it gets down to like what our lesson number one is. And so for me as a podcaster, I feel like I have three jobs and they all relate to my listeners. And it is to inspire, educate, and entertain. And I think if you think about each of those in turn you'll say, I want to inspire podcasters to be better podcasters, to create better content, create things that their audience can engage with them in a, in a higher and deeper way to educate episodes like this to say we're going to be really practical and give you a lot of tactics that you can follow to make your show better, to serve your audience in a better way, and then entertain.
Speaker 1 01:55 And hopefully the show and I think maybe more, especially the interview episodes are fun and interesting to listen to and they're dynamic. Um, I think on a very personal level, me sitting in front of the mic and just being one person is difficult to get the entertaining part of my job out. But I tried to do that a little bit with uh, some vocal kind of variety, but as well as, as kind of just have interesting things to talk about. So I hope that we are creating that story arc. We've talked about in some of our previous episodes, even with our more practical episodes like this where you're both educated, inspired and a little bit entertained to say, I want to keep listening to this. This is really great stuff. I can't wait for next Thursday's episode already. Okay. So let's jump into how we can all be better interviewers for our podcast.
Speaker 1 02:41 So whether you have an interview based show or you just have a you and a cohost, I think sometimes you are actually interviewing your cohost, asking them questions about what they've been up to lately and whatever the topic of your show is, if you have a cohost show, you are in a way interviewing them because this, there's this dynamic back forth between the two of you or three of you. Um, if you have a solo show like this episode, this doesn't necessarily apply, but I think a lot of the episode prep that we'll talk about definitely applies. So I think this episode is for everybody as far as kind of creating good content goes. And the first thing is, is really important to serving your audience better. Just in general, I think. And it is to put yourself in your audience shoes and be an audience member, be a listener for a second and say, okay, I'm going to go interview Jack reciter from the dark net diaries.
Speaker 1 03:31 What are things that I want to hear about in his, in this episode? What are the things that I am truly curious about that I want to get answers to or learn more about or be again, educated, inspired or entertained by through my conversation with Jack. So, so when I get ready for these interviews I say, okay, I am a representative listener of the show. I'm a podcaster. I want to make better podcasts. When I go to interview someone, I always say it is a bit selfish but not in a bad way to say there are things that I want to get out of this episode that will make me a better podcast or will make me enjoy this episode and will make me want to keep coming back for more. And I think that admitting that to yourself upfront and really putting yourself in your listener's shoes, not as the host of the show, but as a prospective listener to say, okay, I have this person I'm going to interview.
Speaker 1 04:20 What do I want to get out of this? What is my goal? What are things I definitely want to talk about? What are things I definitely don't want to talk about? And we'll get into that in a little bit, uh, and then have a real goal that you can state in a single sentence. Maybe two sentences say, Hey, in this episode I would really like to talk mostly about you know, your childhood kind of origin story, how you got started in podcasting and what you did before then and and what that journey looks like maybe, and this is the important part. And then tell your guest that before you start recording. If you're able to tell your guest that before you start recording, they know where you're trying to go to. So you can ask questions that guide them in this direction, but you've given them the kind of courtesy of saying, okay, I know my audience, I am an audience member, I'm the representative audience member of this show.
Speaker 1 05:08 This is where I want this episode to go. And these are the things that I want to try to cover. And ultimately I want to get to this point at the end of the episode. And if we get there, I will consider this a really successful show and I know our audience is going to love it. They're going to want to engage with you and kind of further your brand and all of this great stuff that we talked about in previous episodes with guesting on other shows is if you're able to state for your guests at the beginning, Hey, I know our audience and our listeners will love hearing about this. So that's what I want to talk about. Then you're setting them up for success, for being a good guest on your show. As we're talking about the, the beginning of the episode. Another really important thing is don't ask your guests who they are and what they've been up to lately and where they come from.
Speaker 1 05:53 Uh, this is honestly something that I'm a bit guilty of because it's a natural way to start a podcast episode, but it is something that you don't need to waste your guest's time on. Uh, a bajillion people have asked somebody, Oh, so tell us about kind of who you are and where you come from. And that is something that they have answered 10,000 times, but you don't have to ask them that. You don't have to waste those five minutes every interview. You will have done your homework and we'll talk about homework in a minute to prepare for these interviews. You will have done your homework at a time to where you can give that summary at least as good as they can. And you will have listened to episodes. They've done it before. You can probably just pretty much use that verbatim, but don't waste your guest's time on your podcast doing stuff and saying things that you can say for them and really craft their introduction to your audience in a way that your audience is really gonna connect with.
Speaker 1 06:44 So your audience is going to connect with the things you say about your guests in a certain way. And you're the best person to craft that. So take the intro that you've heard your guests say a million times and read their social media bios and read their blogs and listen to their podcast episodes they've done. And you craft that intro for them in a way that you know, your audience is really gonna resonate with. These intros are usually a minute, couple minutes maybe. Uh, and it's, it's a couple of things. It's who this person is, what do they do or where do they come from and why you are excited about having them on the show. Personally, for me, I do this right after I interview somebody and I do it right afterwards because if not, I'm going to forget about it and then it's going to be time for post production and I'm going to be sick and my voice will have changed or I will have forgotten some of what they said and all these kinds of weird things.
Speaker 1 07:31 So just make it part of the interview process. So I'm going to do an hour for my interviews. I'm going to talk to somebody for 45 minutes and I have those other 15 minutes. The microphone is still plugged in. I'm still in that good space, you know, physically and mentally say, okay, I just had this interview. Now I'm going to kind of summarize it and tell my audience what it's all about. So Hey, this episode we have Jack reciter from the dark net diaries podcast on Jack is on the show today to talk about X, Y, Z. And it's a really interesting conversation because we cover a, B, and C. uh, so you're, you're telling your, your listeners what they're going to get out of this episode and you telling them I think is more impactful than this person telling them. And then you can jump right into the real kind of meat of the episode and ask those questions and peel that onion back in a way that, that you really want to and get to that goal that you discussed with your guest before you started recording.
Speaker 1 08:23 So we talked about homework a little bit. There's, there's a handful of things I like to do to do my homework before an interview with a guest and it doesn't take as much time as you think it might have to. Some people think, Oh, this is going to take hours and hours and it might take an hour. Really. Um, and so the first place I like to start to somebody's website. So most people that are going to be on your podcast have some kind of online presence. It's their personal brand site. It's their business site, it's their organization site, whether it's a church group or a sports event or whatever passion project has a website, go to that, read the about page, read, read the contact page, really kind of figure out what they're all about. From there, they usually have links to all their social media, so go check out their Twitter bio and their Facebook page and check out those last few posts.
Speaker 1 09:07 Not just the, the kind of meta profile information, but read those last few POWs, scroll back a few days to see what they've been talking about. The same with their podcast. Chances are if you have someone on your podcast, they have a podcast of their own here in the first part of 2020 podcasts are everywhere. Everyone and their mother has a podcast, so go check out those last few podcast episodes. I listened to at least one of the most recent episodes that I think is kind of representative of the show. I'll take a look at the last say five episodes. They all look about the same. So the format and the types of guests they have on, I'll listen to one of those. If they all look a little bit different, I might kind of sample my way through a couple of those old episodes. So these kind of three things I look at are, you know, their person's website or their company or brand's website, their social media information for their personal accounts and then their podcast.
Speaker 1 09:58 If they have one. And if they don't have one, then that's fine. You're, you're only spending 20 or 30 minutes doing this. But if you're able to do these few things and you really know, okay, the, the stuff that you can craft the bio for this person about, um, and kind of solidify more of that kind of, why do I want to talk to this person? What am I trying to get out of this as a representative listener of my podcast? What, what is my goal? And I think the last thing about this is a lot of people these days, in addition to having podcasts, have written books, self-published books or otherwise, if you're able to get your hands on this person's book and read it ahead of time, it's a huge up because a lot of authors, you know, put their heart and sweat into these books and they're real good, kind of met a representation of what somebody is all about.
Speaker 1 10:41 So if somebody has written a book, go read the book, it usually is a really good idea of kind of what they're, what they're all about. As I'm going through the, the homework that I'm doing about my guest, I'm writing down questions. This is a big part of how I'm generating the questions and the topics that I want to talk about with my guest. I'm doing the, I'm doing the homework and finding out, Oh, they're from here and they did this thing and they went to work there. Oh, but now they're over here doing something else. What, what's that about? Why did, why did that happen? And so I'll, I'll start a little Google doc or an Evernote file and say, okay, from, you know, at this point they started working here and now they work over there. Why? Why did that happen? What, what was their kind of journey?
Speaker 1 11:20 Let's dive in there. So as I'm doing my homework, I'm generating this list of questions usually end up with like 10 or 12 questions afterwards and then I go back and kind of refine those and say, yeah, this one's boring. I heard them talk about this on another podcast. I don't want to cover that again. It's already been out there. And from there I usually end up with for a, you know, a 30 or 45 minute interview, I usually end up with about five or six questions that are really interesting, broad medic questions. And I like to have these questions be pretty broad because what a question is an interview for me is the starting point for a conversation. So it's not a yes or no thing. It's not a, have you ever done this or have you done that? It's tell me about the time when you did this.
Speaker 1 12:01 And then the goal here is to ask that question and then sit there. And a lot of times if you're a good interviewer, you're just going to be sitting there and you're going to be listening to what they have to say. You're going to be transfixed and say, Oh my God, this is a crazy story. I can't believe that they did this. Or that's amazing outcome of, you know, how they achieved this thing. But your goal is not to be doing the talking. Your goal is to be doing the questioning and letting your guests shine and offering them an opportunity to really show what they're all about. And if you do this well, your questions will be open-ended and let the conversation kind of go wherever it wants to go with your guests. Kind kinda guiding things from there. So your questions are to kind of generally set the direction for where you're going, but then from there, your guests and the responses that they have, and then the follow up questions you have after that, which we'll get into a minute to, to ultimately decide where the episode is going to go.
Speaker 1 12:58 Okay. So follow up questions. You have to be an active listener to your podcast episodes. If you have the 10 questions that you ask everybody and you ask them the questions and then no matter what they say, you ask the next question on your list. You're not doing your job right. A natural conversation does not float like that. A natural conversation is, you know, Hey, tell me about a time when you were really scared to go into a new venture. Oh, well they know blah, blah, blah. They say whatever. And then you don't say, that's great. What's your favorite color? Right. You say, wow, that's really interesting. So that time when you went to work from company to company B because, uh, you know, you found out that your boss was corrupt and that you couldn't work there and it wasn't aligned with your values anymore.
Speaker 1 13:40 How did that affect the rest of your professional life? That's a good followup question to, to the question you asked before, but, so don't be so regimented in your list of questions that, you know, these are the only 10 things I'm going to ask in this episode. But say, you know, Hey, generally I'm going to touch on these five topics and these are kind of generally the questions I'm going to ask. And then I'm going to be kind of thinking on my feet a little bit and I'm going to say as they kind of dive into this part of their life and answer these parts of my questions, I'm going to, I'm going to nudge the conversation in this direction or that direction. And so kind of backing up to, to the original questions and the direction that I want to take these topics. Uh, you wanna you want to be able to get uncomfortable with yourself and the topics that you're discussing.
Speaker 1 14:28 And also let the guest be vulnerable, not in a negative way. I don't think this is meant to be embarrassing or anything, but, but to ask questions in a way that the guests can talk about things that are really important, right? Because like, you know, what's your favorite color is not exciting, right? But, but to ask questions that let the guest open up and expose the why and the how and the, so what behind a topic is really kind of what you're looking for. And so I say, let's try to get uncomfortable and you want to do this in a safe way because your guests might not really be open to that, but you're, if you're a good interviewer, you will make your guest be comfortable talking about this thing that might be a little edgy for them and be, and be confident and them talking openly and honestly about this thing that they're looking at.
Speaker 1 15:18 And so there are these kind of probing question modifiers that I like to use and, and they are things like, tell me about a time dot. Dot. Dot. So tell me about a time when you were really uncomfortable, but you were able to overcome it. And ultimately we're a lot better off afterwards. Or how did you feel when you.dot. Dot. How did you feel when you won the world series and you know, came home to your family for the first day after you've been gone for six months or whatever, or another one is what was the hardest part about building your own tiny house, right? Some things like that. Like not just tell me about building tiny houses, but what was the hardest part about building a tiny house? And what this does is it just cuts all of the crap out of their question.
Speaker 1 16:03 All of the stuff that you can read on any blog post out there and gets to the emotion and the rawness of, of how they felt around a time. So these kind of question modifiers I think are really good at getting to the point. And drawing out of somebody again in a safe and non assuming way of them being able to, to talk in more depth and more detail around the topic. And the question that you've posed to them, I probably should have started with mentioning this, but going back to the very beginning of your conversation with a guest again. So we block off an hour for an interview, about 45 minutes of that is the actual interview. There's about five minutes ahead of time that's just chit chatting. And, and the, the goal here is to just put your guest at ease, tell them a little bit about yourself and your show and where you come from.
Speaker 1 16:52 Ask them some really kind of, you know, Hey, how's it going? Where are you located? Uh, you know, how are things going, doing all this stuff. We'll just put them at ease and let, let you get to know them and vice versa. And, and just kind of put the conversation as a whole on the right path. And then I like to tell them this, you know, Hey, this is my goal for this interview. I'd like to really talk about this part of you know your story and I would like to achieve this for my audience because I think this is what they would really like and then say this. We are going to edit this interview so if you say something wrong, it is okay. Just stop, take a deep breath, take a drink of water and then start your whole thought or conversation. Now part of the conversation, again saying this especially to non kind of seasoned veteran podcasters will do wonders towards their comfort and their ability to deliver good content to you.
Speaker 1 17:45 A lot of people are nervous or scared because all I'm going to be on a podcast, Oh my gosh, I don't know. This is all about, but especially in those situations, if you have somebody who has not done a lot of podcasting or not done a lot of audio content, say, Hey, this is just a conversation. Please don't worry about how you sound or if you say something weird or bad, if you do just stop and say, Hey, can we cut that whole part out? I'm going to start that thought over and you say, yep, no problem. And just keep the tape rolling that whole time and let them start that whole thought from scratch. They'll feel better, you'll feel better. And saying this before you start, we'll put them at ease in a huge way that allows them to get more uncomfortable, allows them to get weird with what they're talking about.
Speaker 1 18:27 And you kind of helping peel that onion back of, of kind of their history and experiences and their story to get a better story out for your audience. So I hope this is again, helpful, educational, inspiring, and a little bit entertaining to talk about things I'd like to do when I'm interviewing people and kind of the whole approach I take from how to select people to interview, what to talk about, how to do my homework, how to prep myself and the guest for kind of the best experience we can all have together. And then ultimately how to conduct that interview so that they get the best story out for themselves. And for my audience. Uh, and, and for me as a representative listener of my audience, right, I'm creating the podcast that I love and that I want to have. And, and if I'm doing that, then I'm going to be able to really key in on the things that I want to talk to certain people about that.
Speaker 1 19:18 Again, it's kind of selfish, but I know I really want to talk with this person about this particular thing and if I'm aligned with my audience, then I know they're going to really, uh, kinda gel with that as well. So I hope this has been really helpful. We're going to have extra resources around this in the email newsletter that we send out for this episode. So if you haven't already, please go to <inaudible> dot com and sign up for our newsletter and every podcast episode released, we're going to have extra resources around the topic that we're talking about that are just in the email. So if you haven't already, go to <inaudible> dot com sign up for our newsletter every Thursday when we send a new podcast episode out, we send a newsletter as well talking about the episode. And the topic around, you know, the episode and that's only available on email.
Speaker 1 20:03 So go to <inaudible> dot com sign up for our newsletter and you'll get the additional information there and hopefully it helps us do better podcast interviews together. And as always, if you're enjoying the show, please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. So fellow podcast or a colleague at work, a person and your a and your club or a group locally, please share it with somebody who you think would enjoy it as well. Just helps us share the podcasting knowledge and hopefully it makes our little part of the podcasting world a little better. Thanks so much. We'll see you next week.