How to Conduct a Pre-Interview Immediately Prior to an Interview
During the pre-interview, always start with this question: “I want to respect your time and keep an eye on the clock. What time do you need to be done?”
To determine if they have a hard stop time, you can also ask: “Is there somewhere you have to be at [insert finishing time]?”
Next, ask them a couple of questions to learn about what is most important to them right now. Use this script: “I want to make sure that we share and talk about what is top of mind for you. What do you want to make sure that we mention or discuss?”
You can also ask: “What is a great case study or a favorite story we can talk about? It could be a new project, book, or specific story you want to tell.” Or, you could ask: “What would make this interview a big win for you?”
This will help you create an outline for the interview and ensure that the guest is happy with the result.
To ease any nerves and help the guest feel more confident going into the interview, you should also quickly explain the format of the episode during your pre-interview conversation. Here’s our tried-and-true script for that:
“I will open with a brief introduction of the show, then I’m going to read a short sponsor message. Next, I’ll read a rockstar intro of you and launch into our first question.”
It can also be helpful to tell them what your first question is going to be.
The next step is to verify your introduction of the guest. First and foremost, ask your guest: “Am I pronouncing your name right?”
Then, you can say: “I’m going to read you my introduction so you can let me know if I should add or subtract anything.”
This shows respect and highlights the fact that you did your research beforehand.
We love setting up a “give loop” during our interviews. To do this, ask your guest: “Who is an important client, partner, or champion we should mention during the interview?”
You can also ask if they have a good story that features this person so it can be included in the interview.
If you have an especially nervous guest, here’s one final question to ease their nerves and get them excited for the interview: “What is a fun fact about yourself that many people don’t know?”
Last but definitely not least, say this: “Now I will hit ‘record’ and test the mic.” Once you hit the “record” button and see the blinking light, say: “Testing 1, 2. Talk on your end.”
Although it may seem simple, saying this out loud will ensure that you never make the biggest podcasting mistake: forgetting to hit “record” before starting your interview.
It will also give you the chance to check the sound quality of both your microphone and your guest’s microphone before you get into the conversation.
Being interviewed as a guest on a podcast can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for many leaders and experts. To put your guests at ease and ensure you conduct the best interview possible for everyone involved, there’s an essential podcasting step that’s often overlooked: the pre-interview conversation. So, what does this look like?
To help you set up a great interview, we have six simple points to touch on before hitting “record.” First, show that you respect your guest’s time by asking when they need to finish the interview. Next, brainstorm some great topics for the interview by asking what is top of mind for them right now. This will also help you ensure that the interview is a win on their end and yours.
Then, briefly explain the format of the episode and verify how to pronounce their name. Finally, set up a “give loop” by asking them about important partners or champions they’d like to shout out during the episode. Finish this short conversation by hitting “record,” testing microphone quality, and launching into an amazing interview!
By following these steps, you are doing much more than planning the logistics of an interview. You are also showing your respect for your guest and prioritizing what they want to gain from the episode. This will help you build a stronger relationship that hopefully lasts far into the future.