For anyone looking to build an audience, interviews area great way to extend reach. Provided you give some thought to how you’ll orchestrate them before you go live.
These can be delivered as written, audio or video presentations based on what you’re most comfortable with (that’s primary) and what your audience is most likely to embrace. In fact, you can offer all three without much more effort with tools like Camtasia (audio editing – something you might consider doing for your video too) and Dragon (voice recognition transcription tool).
The thing is, the impression you make with your guest can be even more important than pleasing your audience. Choose the right people to feature and you can expand your reach substantially – so long as you don’t do dumb things to make them feel insignificant in your busy schedule. This applies as much to interviews done through written e-mail exchanges as it does to audio and video.
We’ve all watched or heard interviews where it becomes clear pretty quickly to host didn’t “read the book,” or even take a vew minutes to chat prior to hitting “record”. That’s not a smart way to excite your guest or your audience.
It’s not that hard to do your homework, especially with today’s put-it-all-out-there internet mentality. Give your guest the honor she deserves by spending some time getting clear about what moves her prior to turning on the mic. Respect your audiences’ time by tightening up what you deliver.
This is something that’s easy to do, but also easy not to. Why not put a little extra effort into ensuring what you offer makes you proud, your guest flattered and your audience charmed?
How to prepare for an interview
Ideally, you’ll have an opportunity to dialog with your guest prior to the event (e-mail, phone, video call, etc.). Don’t make the mistake of starting this phase cold. If you’re asking someone to spend their time to help you, it’s important you demonstrate your appreciation for this by doing a little research prior to first contact.
Review their website. Google them (it’s amazing the surprising interests – and accolades given to your now more esteemed guest – you’ll find with a simple search). Have discussion themes and/or questions in mind before you reach out with your request for interview time.
Years ago, I hosted a radio show (five years, three different stations, same boss). Not having a radio background (my voice spurred the station manager to ask for a meeting, then he hired me), I didn’t know protocol. My approach was to allow as least as much time for talking to the guest prior to recording as we’d spend taping the show. I learned later, this was not the way it was usually done. At that point, it didn’t matter to me. It worked on so many levels.
When you show you care enough about your guest to understand them, they’ll not only give a better interview, but also be more compelled to share delightful tidbits, tell others about the show and repeat your name as a great resource. Your audience will sense rapport. The final product will be more brilliant – and timeless.
Don’t expect your guest to carry the conversation – that’s your job. Be careful, though, about being too verbose. People are tuning in to hear what your featured speaker has to offer. The artful interview is about being prepared enough to lead the conversation in a way that puts you in the background – even though you’re orchestrating what’s being delivered. That involves not only having a keen understanding on how to get your guest to reveal interesting things that others haven’t been able to draw out, but also recognizing what information will be most appreciated by your audience.
Your goal should be to make your guest shine with a polished presentation that has your readers/listeners/viewers wanting more. Preparation makes it easy (as so few do it right). Think about why you chose this guest and what you want the interview to accomplish before you ask for their time. They’ll be impressed with your attention and your audience will delight in what results.
Have you ever participated in a great interview as a guest or host? Please share in the comments below with your thoughts on what made it so special. Also, if you liked this article, look left and click on your favorite (few ;-)) social media icons. Thanks!