10 Interviewing Tips for Hosts

Congratulations! You’ve booked a big guest, but the work of a good host is still not over.  Remember, securing a great guest is only the first part of the equation and doesn’t necessarily ensure a great interview.  The other half is figuring out the best way to make your guest feel comfortable and share interesting nuggets with you and your audience.  Producing engaging content will make listeners hungry to come back for more and also more likely to share your content with others.  We’ve compiled a list of interviewing tips here at BlogTalkRadio to help you conduct a stellar interview.

Research Your Guest
Study up on what’s happening in your guest’s life recently and even in the past and you’ll start to find areas you want to learn more about through your interview.  Your guest will be flattered that you have taken the time to really get to know who they are and will most likely be happy to come back to your show if asked.

Get Familiar With Your Guest’s Past Interviews
Read and listen to previous interviews your guest has been on to figure out a question that no one has ever asked before and possibly elicit a never before told anecdote. You can also comment on or build upon what your guest may have remarked in another interview to get at another angle. For instance, “In an interview on NBC, you shared that X movie was your favorite acting experience, well what was your least favorite one and why?” Also, creating new content may attract media attention and could get picked up by other publications or stations in the form of a sound bite or mention.

Prepare Your Guest
Provide your guest with the basic format of your interview, any technical or procedural things they may need to know and a few sample questions beforehand.  This will give your guest a general idea on how the interview is going to play out and get them thinking about interesting responses to some of your questions.  They may even promote the interview to their audience if you keep it top of mind for them.

The Right Question
Avoid yes or no questions. Ask questions that provide a good flow for your dialogue and not ones that halt it.

Delivery
Your interview should be like a conversation. Prepare, but don’t just read down a list of questions to your guest. Use them as a guide and a springboard for your conversation. It’s very important to listen and have your questions come naturally. If your questions are too staged and rehearsed, the answers will be too. When your questions are spontaneous and based on your curiosity, you will get good content.

Two Way Street
The right questions are key, but you also need to strike up a good rapport with your guest. Sometimes it may make sense to share some information about yourself in the interview. After all, this is a conversation, isn’t it?

Listen
Listen to what the person you’re interviewing says. They may say something much more interesting than you had expected and fuel a number of follow up questions from your end.

Stay On Topic
You’ll find that many times a guest may come on your show because they are promoting a new project, movie, record or book. That’s great because you want your guests to get their messages out and also provide that info to listeners who have tuned in for that reason.  Of course you can always slip in a question or two after you have addressed the subject at hand.

Put Your Guest at Ease
Warm your guests up with some light conversation a few minutes before you actually start the interview. Before they know it, you are on the air and continuing the conversation.

Relax
Forget the headset or microphone and be yourself. To get a good interview, you have to be comfortable yourself. Make sure your interview space is in a quiet place and your set up is working for you.

We hope these interviewing tips will help you create great content. We look forward to hearing more of your conversations.

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