I just listened to the worst podcast ever. It was a disaster. I listen to this show all the time and it’s usually great, but this episode was a dud. Five years ago, we could go about our days blissfully ignorant of podcasts, but now they’re a fixture. With more podcasts in the mix than ever before, it’s likely that someone is going to ask YOU to be their guest. The reason this podcast episode tanked was because of the guest — and I want to make sure the same thing doesn’t ruin your interview experience.
Podcasts are an audio medium, so you can’t rely on visual elements to communicate your point. You need to express yourself with only your voice. That’s why it’s important not to speak in monotone. I tend to think about speech in musical terms. When I hear someone sing or speak in only one or two notes, I’m bored (unless it’s Morrissey). When I hear someone speak with multiple notes, it’s like a catchy melody. You’ll hook the listener with the melody of your speech pattern, just as songwriters do with hit singles.
The same concept applies to how you answer questions. The boring guest will drone on without getting to the point. Start your answer by addressing the question directly before diving into the details. The show I just listened to was a struggle because the guest’s answers to simple questions would spin out of control into the abyss of irrelevant details. To make the matter worse, they spoke in endless run-on sentences, leaving the host no space to cut in. The best podcasts are conversations, not monologues. Don’t just sit and answer questions, feel free to toss in some questions of your own!
Once you’re booked, the podcast host will usually send an email with technical details about the recording process. If you’re recording from home, they’ll send you a link to whatever platform they prefer. Put that link in your calendar and download any necessary software immediately so you’re not scrambling five minutes before go-time. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, spend three minutes scanning through an episode to get an idea of what kinds of questions they like to ask. Of course, you should always Google the show and its host so you don’t end up on a platform you don’t support.
Most podcasts these days are recorded remotely, not in a professional recording studio. To get the best sound at home, you’ll want to set yourself up in a quiet spot. Your restaurant’s office is going to be much better for audio than the middle of your dining room. To cut down on echo, sit close to a wall. Bonus points if that wall is covered in something soft to absorb reflections. A coat closet works great for this! You should use a headset/microphone combo for the best sound. Earbuds, Air Pods, or whatever you plug into your phone should work fine.
Being an interview guest can be nerve wracking, especially if you’re not used to public speaking. Just remember that you’ve been invited onto the show because someone wants to share your story with their listeners. I promise it will be a great show if you just sit back, relax and have fun!
SCOTT WIENER is the founder of Scott’s Pizza Tours in New York City and SliceOutHunger.org Instagram: @scottspizzatours