How to Tips: for prerecorded podcast interviews
Prerecorded podcast interviews differ from live radio in several ways. You will need to find out ahead of time how your interview will be conducted, live or as a prerecorded podcast to be aired at a later date.
Many Web radio and podcast interviews are prerecorded for the convenience of the blog host and site management. This allows for minor editing, a “positive” in favor of prerecording interviews that a good host will use to make higher quality podcasts. Writers In The Sky pre-records its podcasts and schedules these interviews to be aired on a weekly basis.
Even the best editing can’t turn Mr. Potato into a thrilling interviewee
That being the case, here are a few tips to help you on your way to becoming an interview superstar.
Live radio interviews can begin abruptly. A prerecorded interview usually allows you to get comfortable with your host and to ask questions of your interviewer before recording begins. For WITS Podcast interviews, I like to give our guests the general outline of the interview a day or two early, and then to answer questions before we begin recording. Taking the time to chat with my guests beforehand helps me gauge an author’s comfort level, break the ice, and address any fears our guests may have about interviewing. Live interviews rarely have time to allow a host to put their guest at ease. Interviewing is a skill that, as with all skills, gets easier through practice. Practice your interview skills with friendly audiences. Get your friends to ask you questions about your book and themes. Play around with your responses so that you learn to answer questions on the fly.
With prerecorded interviews, there are fewer concerns or constraints about time and timing than is the case for live interviews. During a live interview, you will need to be prepared to talk at a moment’s notice and to keep your answers brief so that your host can speak to other callers or break for commercial. With a prerecorded interview, it is possible to take more time with your answers as pauses and hiccups can be edited away. In both cases, help your host know when you are finished speaking by ending with a declarative sentence or by using a vocal downtick to make it clear to the host that you’ve completed your answer.
No prepared speeches
Don’t write out speeches to read during the interview. Instead, create a bullet point list of things you would like to convey during the interview, key thoughts or themes you want to work into your responses. Read answers are never very engaging and will make you sound stilted and mechanical unless you are theatrically trained. Even good actors avoid reading from a prepared script and take liberties with their material to allow for natural, conversational phrasing. Don’t make the mistake of reading prepared answers during your interview. It is a mood killer.
Listen to your host
Listen to your host and do your best to answer the questions they ask. Don’t assume that they are disinterested. Give them something to work with. An unresponsive guest is a hosts worst nightmare. A host will often ask follow up questions if they like what you’ve said, if they are trying to draw out more information from you or if they want to carry you deeper down a line of questioning they think will be of interest to their audience. If you are listening to your host, you will hear the cues they will give you. Be responsive and they will guide you through. An engaging guest is a delight to support and easy to sell. If you need a little help with energy and want to avoid sounding flat and uninspired, try matching or slightly exceeding your host’s energy level. To do this you have to . . . listen.
Share your passion
If you aren’t passionate about your book, who will be? Listeners will turn the dial if your interview lacks passion, but they will “hear it” if you SMILE – so get a telephone headset and free yourself to wave those arms around while you talk. Let the love you have for your book, theme, and characters come through in your voice. Standing while you speak conveys energy and confidence. Gesturing helps you convey intensity and meaning. We rely upon these things in everyday speech to help communicate clearly. Allowing for movement will help you relax during an interview and greatly enhance the sound of your voice.
Give of yourself
Being a good guest translates down to one thing. Give of yourself. When someone speaks from a place of inspiration about something they love, it is always interesting. Do you love your book? Didn’t you just invest time, energy, and money in creating and publishing it? If you love your book and speak from that place, you will have something interesting to say.
Letting go of fear and embracing life is a challenge that everyone faces. The circumstances may vary, but the opportunity to move past fear comes to all of us. I have one last tip to share and it will help you overcome any fears you have about interviewing . And it is . . .
Breath is life. When you stop your breath, you stop your life, you freeze your emotions, and stifle your truth. Breathing frees stuck emotion and gives you voice. It carries you through and out of fear. If you encounter a question that throws you for a second, or need to gather your thoughts for a response, take a breath. In that moment of internal silence, while you concentrate on inhaling, your answer will come. It will come from a place of truth that exists deep inside of you, a place that is inside all of us. Share what comes to you and keep breathing.