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Interviewing 101: Mastering The Art Of Conducting Great Podcast Interviews

June 12, 2024 Deciphr AI
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Interviews are essential for any podcast, as they bring fresh perspectives, insights, and personalities to your show. Here are four key tips on how to conduct great podcast interviews:

  • Preparing for the interview
  • Structuring your questions
  • Creating a comfortable environment for your guest
  • Handling unexpected situations

With these tips, you'll be able to conduct great interviews that will leave a lasting impression on your guest and audience. It might seem like a whole lot of work, but it's worth the effort!


Welcome, fellow interviewers! We are here to talk about a crucial aspect of podcasting and thought leadership—conducting great interviews. Interviews are the lifeblood of any podcast. They can also help to build your brand and credibility as an expert in your field.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips to help you master the art of conducting great podcast interviews. Whether you’re just a beginner podcaster or looking to improve your interviewing skills, we’ve got you covered.

So, sit back, relax, grab a cup of joe, and let's dive in!

Preparing for the Interview

As the saying goes, "failing to prepare is preparing to fail." And this couldn't be more true when it comes to conducting a great podcast interview. Here are methods on how to prepare for an interview that will leave your guest and your audience impressed:

Do Your Research 

Before the interview, make sure you do your research on your guest.

You don't want to ask the same old boring questions they've already answered a million times.

Look up their background, their interests, and their expertise. This will help you create more targeted questions that will make for a better interview. 

Plus, it will show your guest that you've put in the effort to understand them and their work.

Create A List Of Questions 

Once you've done your research, create a list of questions that you'll ask during the interview. And don't just stop at a few questions. Come up with more questions than you'll need so that you can be flexible and adjust your questions as the interview progresses. 

Plus, having extra questions on hand will give you a safety net in case your guest doesn't have much to say about a particular topic.

Practice Makes Perfect 

Before the interview, take some time to practice asking your questions out loud. This will help you get comfortable with the flow of the conversation and make sure you're asking your questions clearly and concisely. You can even practice with a friend or family member and get their feedback on your interviewing style. 

The more you practice your style, the more confidence you'll feel during the actual interview.

Use A Structured Approach

Using a structured approach can help you stay focused and keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Consider using an outline or a mind map to organize your questions and keep track of the topics you want to cover. This will help you avoid rambling or getting sidetracked during the interview.

Be Creative With Your Questions 

Finally, don't be afraid to be creative with your questions. Consider asking hypothetical or "what if" questions to get your guest's imagination flowing. Or, ask them to tell a story about a particular experience or challenge they've faced in their work. 

The more engaging and thought-provoking your questions are, the more interesting your interview will be for your audience.

Preparing for an interview may seem like a lot of work, but it's essential to conducting a great podcast interview that will leave a lasting impression on your guest and audience. Trust us; it'll be worth the effort!

Structuring your Questions

Once you've prepared your questions, it's important to structure them in a way that will create a compelling and engaging conversation. Here are some methods on how to structure your questions:

Start With Open-Ended Questions 

Open-ended questions are questions that can't be responded to with just a simple yes or no. These questions allow your guest to share their thoughts and experiences, creating a more engaging conversation. Examples of open-ended questions include:

  • Can you tell us about your background in the industry and how you got started in your industry?
  • What do you think are the prominent hardships facing your industry right now?
  • How do you see your industry growing in the next decade or so?

Follow Up With Targeted Questions 

Once your guest has shared their thoughts on a topic, follow up with targeted questions to dive deeper into their experiences and insights.

Examples of targeted questions include:

  • Can you give us an example of a time when you faced a challenge in your industry and how you overcame it?
  • How do you stay updated with the trends and developments in your industry?
  • Can you share a success story or achievement that you're particularly proud of?

End With Open-Ended Questions 

Like at the beginning of the interview, ending with open-ended questions can create a more engaging conversation and leave your guest with the opportunity to share any final thoughts or insights. Examples of end-of-interview questions include:

  • Do you have anything else you'd like to say to our listeners?
  • What advice or tips would you give to someone just starting out in your industry?
  • What's next for you and your career?

Creating a Comfortable Environment

Let's face it, interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if it's your first time being interviewed or you're being interviewed on a topic that's particularly sensitive or personal. That's why it's important to create a comfortable environment for your guest. 

Here are four methods to make your guest feel at ease:

Start With Small Talk 

Small talk may seem trivial, but it's a powerful tool for building rapport and establishing trust with your guest.

Before diving into the meat of the interview questions, take a few minutes to chat with your guest about something unrelated to the interview. Ask about their day or something interesting they've been working on. This can help to break the ice and put your guest at ease.

Listen Actively 

Active listening is an essential skill in interviewing. It involves paying close attention to what your guest is saying and responding in a way that shows you understand and value their perspective. This means:

  • Maintaining eye contact: Eye contact is a powerful way to show that you're fully present and engaged in the conversation.
  • Giving verbal cues: Use phrases like "mmm-hmm" or "I see" to let your guest know that you're following along and interested in what they're saying.
  • Avoid distractions: Put away your phone, turn off your notifications, and minimize any other distractions that could take away from the conversation.

Be Respectful 

Respect is a fundamental aspect of any good interview.

Always be mindful of your guest's time and boundaries.

Here are some ways to show respect during an interview:

  • Avoid interrupting your guest: Interrupting can be frustrating for your guest and can disrupt the flow of the conversation. Try to wait until your guest has finished speaking before jumping in.
  • Don't speak over your guest: It can be tempting to add your thoughts or opinions, but be sure to let your guest finish their thoughts before adding your perspective.
  • Be mindful of sensitive topics: If you're covering a sensitive or personal topic, be sure to approach it in a respectful and sensitive manner.

Create A Welcoming Atmosphere 

The environment of the interview can greatly impact the guest's comfort level. Here are three methods you can use to create a welcoming atmosphere:

  • Choose a quiet location: Choose a location that's quiet and free of distractions. This could be a studio or a quiet corner of a coffee shop.
  • Provide water or other refreshments: Offering water or other refreshments can make your guest feel more at ease and comfortable during the interview.
  • Be aware of the temperature: Make sure the temperature is comfortable for your guest. If it's too humid or too frigid, it can be distracting and uncomfortable.

Handling Unexpected Situations

No matter how well-prepared you are, unexpected situations can arise during an interview. 

  • Technical difficulties: Technical difficulties are a common issue during interviews, so it's important to have a backup plan in case your equipment fails. Have a spare microphone or recording device on hand, and be prepared to switch to a phone call or video chat if needed.
  • Nervous or unresponsive guest: If your guest is nervous or unresponsive, try to put them at ease by reminding them that the interview is a conversation, not an interrogation. You can also ask more open-ended questions to encourage them to share their thoughts and experiences.
  • Difficult or controversial topics: If you're covering a difficult or controversial topic, be mindful of your guest's comfort level and boundaries. Make sure to approach the topic in a respectful and sensitive manner, and be prepared to pivot to a different topic if needed.
  • Time constraints: If you're running out of time during the interview, prioritize your remaining questions and try to end on a high note. You can also offer to schedule a follow-up interview if important topics aren't covered.


Alright, now that we've covered the ins and outs of conducting epic podcast interviews, it's time to put these skills into practice! Whether you're a budding thought leader or a brand looking to up your podcast game, nailing your interviewing skills can take your podcast to the next level. 

So, let's get cracking on preparing killer questions, creating a comfortable environment, and handling any unexpected curveballs like a boss. With practice and determination, we have no doubt that you'll become a pro at conducting unforgettable podcast interviews in no time!