Talk to Us: The How Tos of Podcast Interviews: Part 3 of 3

Talk to Us: The How Tos of Podcast Interviews: Part 3 of 3

In Part 1 of Talk to Us, I discussed who to ask as a guest on your podcast and how to go about asking them.

Last week was a check list of logistical information to email once a guest is confirmed for your show.

This week, in the final segment: Before, During, and After the Show



Do your research. Learn about their past, present, and future. Know what your guest has done and what they’re currently working on. Have they done interviews before? Are they published? There’s nothing that will discredit you as a host more than if you know nothing about who you’ve invited.

A radio personality got the opportunity to interview actor Jeff Daniels. Flippantly the host asks, “So why haven’t you ever been to the Oscars?” This embarrassed Daniels because he had to inform the ignorant host that you don’t go to the Oscars unless you’ve been nominated or have won. #HostFail

From your research, write the guest’s show introduction and email† it to them for their approval. They can catch errors, delete outdated information, or inform you of things they don’t want mentioned.



Make sure you pronounce their name correctly. Just come right out and ask them. Even if their name is Joe Smith, ask them, “Do you go by Joe?” If they have a title use it and verify with them what they prefer, “How would you like to be referred to on the show? Dr. Smith?”


Always do an equipment check no less than thirty minutes before the show: reboot your computer, make sure your software is updated, check your internet connection, turn off noise makers like cell phones and email notifications, shutdown all unnecessary apps, etc.


You never know how an interview is going to go. The guest could be talkative, they could ramble, or it may be like pulling teeth to get them to talk. The best way to be prepared is to have material or backup questions to fill your full interview time slot in case the interview runs short or needs more ideas.


Let your guest talk, that’s what your listeners want to hear so don’t squander the opportunity by talking as much or more than your guest. But there’s also a fine line that you’re in charge of.


If your guest has a hard time staying on topic or rambles, help them get back on track. Tangents can be fun but a good host knows when they become boring or are heading into interview gold.

Emcee Chuck Barris of "The Gong Show
Emcee Chuck Barris of “The Gong Show


Finally, don’t hesitate to cut the interview short if it’s just a disaster and there’s nothing you can salvage in post-production. Sometimes you get bad guests but this doesn’t mean you have to post a bad show. You’re trying to build an audience as well. You have no obligation to post a dud.



Send the guest an immediate thank-you for appearing on your show. Emails are fine.

If your show is pre-recorded, prep it in a timely manner and post it when you said you would. Don’t forget to include the guests promotional contact information.

When the show is posted, send your guest a direct link so they can conveniently include it in all their social networking.


Each guest should receive the same three emails I’ve discussed:

  • Asking them to be on the show
  • What they need to know about being on the show
  • Thank you for being on your show.

Once you have crafted the emails I suggest you save them as drafts so you have the copy to reuse for future guests. It’s also a good idea to highlight the parts of the draft that should be customized for each guest. These visual reminders hopefully will prevent you from sending an invite to William Shatner from a draft email original addressed to “Dear Mr. Patrick Stewart.” Ouch.


In actuality, you should probably try to schedule guests for two to four weeks’ worth of shows. Most people need more than a week to schedule time for an interview so if you’re posting weekly shows, schedule at least two weeks out so you’re not scrambling at the last minute to find someone you can interview

I’ll Give You A Topic

Name one person alive and one person dead you would like to interview.

Is there a place in media for ambush journalism?

† Last week I mentioned limiting the number of pre-show emails to your new found guest. Last week’s email was about logistics. Send the bio in a separate email because you really want this to get their attention.

Rhonda has a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science and is a self-taught graphic designer. She considers herself a geek*wildcard because she has a little bit of experience in everything.

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