As a podcast host, one of the most important parts of producing a great show is bringing on excellent guests. The quality of your guests can truly make or break an episode.
And as the host, you also have a big responsibility to set your guests up for success so they can deliver their best performance.
Based on the discussion on the show, here are some top recommendations for how hosts can enable their guests to be great:
Before the Interview: Prepare Your Guest
The work for a host starts well before the guest steps into the studio. You need to set the stage to make your guest feel relaxed and ready to have a smooth, natural conversation.
Send a Calendar Invite with All the Details
Don’t just send a text or email to lock in a date and time. Use a scheduling tool like Calendly that allows you to automate calendar invites with all the key details your guest needs. The more info you provide upfront, the less anxious your guest will feel.
Give a Brief Outline of the Show Flow
Don’t inundate your guest with a list of every single question you plan to ask. That will make the interview feel overly scripted. But consider sharing a bulleted outline highlighting the key topics you want to cover. This gives your guest a roadmap to mentally prepare.
Listen to Their Past Appearances
Do your homework by listening to other podcast episodes or interviews your guest has done. This will allow you to get a feel for their personality and stories so you can dive deeper. It also clues you in on common questions they get asked often that you may want to avoid.
During the Interview: Keep It Natural
Once you hit record or go live, your top priorities are keeping the energy up and guiding the conversation down interesting paths – without making it feel like an interrogation.
Have Fun and Get a Little Silly
If the topic allows, don’t be afraid to banter, be playful, or go off on humorous tangents. Moments of levity help everyone relax and open up. Your guest wants to have fun, too!
Ask Unexpected Questions
Of course, you’ll cover the guest’s core expertise. But think outside the box to ask questions they likely haven’t gotten before on other shows. This could be about early career experiences, unique hobbies, or little-known facts you uncovered during your research.
Gauge Pacing and Flow
Pay attention to time and how engaged your guest seems to be on each topic. React in the moment to go deeper on something they’re excited about, or smoothly transition to a new subject if energy seems to be lagging.
After the Interview: Make Your Guest Feel Appreciated
Your responsibilities don’t end when the mics get switched off. Follow-up is critical for leaving your guest with a positive experience.
Send a Thank You
Right after you wrap, send a thank you email. Express your gratitude and let them know when the episode will be released. Better yet, mail a handwritten thank you card. In our digital world, receiving something tangible in the mail is extra meaningful.
Share Multimedia Assets
After the episode goes live, provide your guest with shareable multimedia – video clips, audio clips, photos, transcripts, and blog posts recapping the interview. This makes it easy for them to promote their appearance to their network.
Stay in Touch
Don’t let the relationship go cold just because your business together is technically done. Check in periodically to say hello, share relevant articles, or congratulate them on big news. Keep your guests in the loop the next time you want to have them back on the show. Make them your “guestie bestie,” as Max would say.
Certainly, podcast guests have a part in being good guests, but there are also things the host can do to make the experience better for their guests, which will ultimately lead to a better episode.