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4 Questions To Becoming A Better Podcast Interviewee
Episode 979th March 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

Figuring out what type of podcaster you want to be is important

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in establishing your podcast.

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But have you thought about and established what kind of interviewee or

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guest you want to be on other podcasts?

Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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I am not a strong interviewer, which is, at least in part, why I

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don't do an interview-style podcast.

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But I'm pretty good as an interviewee.

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Recently, I've been interviewed on several different podcasts - and

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thanks all of you for doing that.

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And that has me thinking about the art of the interviewee.

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Now, astute listeners who are familiar with my work outside of

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Podcast Pontifications are saying, well, hang on a tick, I've heard you

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interview people like on 3 Clips by Castos and you're doing a fine job.

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Well, at least I hope I'm doing a fine job.

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So thank you for that if, in fact, you were saying that.

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And yeah, sure, I've become a better interviewer over time,

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but that is 100% a learned skill.

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I over-prepare for every single interview I do.

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I rely heavily on producers and I really insist on editing, or maybe I

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even do the editing, to make myself sound as good as I possibly can.

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But I've a very different approach when I'm the interviewee.

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Podcasters guesting on someone else's podcast is a time-honored way to

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gain exposure for you and for your podcast to other podcasts listeners.

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It's fishing where the fish are.

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It's a chance to talk to an audience that is at least tangentially interested

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in what you have to say and therefore might be interested in your podcast.

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Now, it may not be the growth hack of the century as it's often billed, and it's

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not, but it is a solid top-of-the-funnel activity likely worth your time.

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That's why my default answer is always yes when I'm asked to

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guest on someone else's podcast.

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And no, I'm not going to ask you about your statistics.

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I do have a working theory, maybe it's hypothesis at this point, that the better

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you are as an interviewer, the less likely you are to be a great interviewee.

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I don't have a lot of data.

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Okay, I don't have any data to back that claim up, but I do have a lot

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of anecdotes beyond just myself.

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And I've seen a few How to be a Great Podcast Guest pieces, and they're fine

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for someone who's brand new to being on a podcast and behind a microphone.

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But that's not you, dear listener.

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You know how to be behind a microphone.

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But how do you become a better podcast guest?

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I don't have a pat how-to answer for you.

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You know that's not what I do here.

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But I do have four questions I think you should consider as you work

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to boost your interviewee skills.

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These aren't four questions to ask yourself five minutes before

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your scheduled guest appearance.

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No, no.

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These are four questions that will help you understand what type of

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interviewee you want to be when you next guest on someone's podcast.

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And as is the case with many of the questions I present to you here on

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Podcast Pontifications, no right, no wrong, just answers that're going to

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make you understand you a little better.

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So let's dive right in.

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The first question, should you have an agenda or should you have an objective?

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No, in this particular instance, those two are not the same thing.

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The difference is somewhat subtle, however, but very key.

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See if you have an agenda when you guest on a podcast, that means you

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have a few key talking points or themes you're going to bring up continually

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during the course of the conversation.

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No, not on every single question, obviously, but when it's appropriate,

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you'll tend to bring your answers back to that central, common theme.

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Having an objective, on the other hand, when you are the interviewee

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is much more direct than that.

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For you, every interview you go on is a means to an end,

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and the end, the objective, is something quantifiable for you.

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Now you can't, or you at least probably shouldn't, push a call to action

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with every single answer you give.

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Remember the interview has to still be enjoyable to their listeners.

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But you're not going to shy away from dropping that call to

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action at every opportune moment.

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Question number two, should you prepare or should you go in cold?

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Remember first and foremost, it's not your podcast you're going to be on.

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And second, you want to be a very good guest, which is, you know, great.

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That's a good thing for you to do.

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So, which of those two things - prepare or go and cold - is the course

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of action you are going to take?

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They both have their merits.

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Prepping ahead of time by listening to other interviews on that podcast

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or reading the About page from the host and understanding, or at least

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inferring, as much as you can about the audience can certainly aid

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in the flow of the conversation.

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It's also quite helpful if you're the kind of person who hates being put

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on the spot with questions like what are the last three books you read?

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And by the way, I'm the kind of person that hates that kind

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of lightning round question.

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But there are merits to going in cold.

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Your answers and your reactions are going to be much more natural if you

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haven't done that much planning ahead.

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You're also going to have to pay attention to each question asked.

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It's going to help you get out of your head and stop worrying about what it

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is you did say and haven't yet said.

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I mean, after all, it was you that they invited to be on their program.

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The prep work is really up to the interviewer, and if they ask you a

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question that really isn't relevant, well, they can always edit that

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out before they publish it, right?

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Question number three, should you keep your answers short or should you go long?

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And now by short, I don't mean single sentence answers.

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This is a conversation not a quiz.

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By short answers I mean more direct answers, the equivalent of maybe a

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paragraph or two if you were to write your answers down to those questions.

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Answers that are on point and don't meander, at least not very far, answers

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that don't take you three to four minutes for you to build up your answer to.

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Now, going long is the opposite of that.

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Here, meanders are welcome in the long answering type.

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As are, "You know, that reminds me of an interesting story..."

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anecdotes that really answer the question through a well-told story.

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And because while the answer to the question is important, how that answer

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is told might be even more important.

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People who like to answer long, that'd be me, fully expect our long-winded replies

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to be edited down by the podcaster.

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We're okay with that.

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The fourth question to ask yourself about what kind of interviewee you want to be

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is this, how accommodating will you be?

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Or how accommodating can you be?

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You have a life.

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You have commitments with others in your life.

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So you may only have a narrow window of availability when you're, well,

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available to guest on another show.

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Or you might have certain days or times when you absolutely cannot carve out an

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hour to be a guest on someone's show.

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That's life.

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And you know that.

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And you also know that if the show really wants you as a guest, they can make

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adjustments to fit into your schedule.

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I mean, this is podcasting, right?

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Not appointment-based broadcast media.

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Or the opposite is do you want to say, "Well, when is good for you?"

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And move your schedule around as necessary?

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Being extremely flexible, dipping into your early mornings and even

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your late evenings, as well as opening up your weekends may open

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you up to a lot more opportunities beyond your current time zone.

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Now, probably requires a reliance on your calendar and setting reminders so

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that you don't accidentally schedule an interview when you're supposed

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to be at your kid's ball game.

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But I don't know.

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Maybe that background noise was exactly what the other show wants to listen to.

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Now, as I said, there isn't a right or wrong answer to

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any of those four questions.

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But if you're curious about me, I have an agenda, rarely an objective.

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I prepare for every interview I'm going to be on, but not obsessively so.

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I do go long, way too long.

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And I know, I'm working on that, making my answers shorter.

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And I'm very accommodating, but I do have some hard no times

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because I got to get things done.

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So I hope that helps.

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With that, I shall be back directly with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

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Cheers!

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Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

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He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

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Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

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section of your podcast listening app.

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A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

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podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

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transcript, both created by Allie Press.

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Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.