Conducting Interesting Interviews
Interviews are a staple of the podcasting world—and with good reason. An interview is a terrific way to bring to your audience content that goes beyond what you’re able to provide yourself. Handled properly, it is also an engaging device. Good interviews sound spontaneous, conversational, and thoughtful—all appealing qualities for your listeners.
The most important factor in crafting an interview that your audience will find interesting is to find interesting guests. What makes a guest interesting in an interview is not how much he or she knows but rather how well he or she can communicate. Every veteran interviewer has multiple war stories about guests who looked qualified on paper but were a bust when they got in front of a microphone.
A helpful approach for avoiding that kind of uncomfortable situation is to schedule your interviews, whenever possible, on the phone rather than via email. This technique will give you a general (if not necessarily perfect) sense of your subject’s style and level of communications skills. It can’t guarantee you a terrific interview each time but every once in a while it can help you avoid a complete stinker!
In Chapter 7, "Recording Your Podcast," we’ll be exploring some much more specific tips and techniques for conducting effective interviews. For our purposes right now, however, it’s enough to note that a well executed interview can be an important and useful device in your podcasting toolkit.