1. Always look presentable, even if you’re booked/recording on an audio-only Podcast
    • Overly communicate your plans: In the 10 years that I’ve worked as a Podcast Producer, I’ve lost count of the (many) times guests showed up to an in-person or online interview looking less than presentable – think someone doing an interview from their bed with rollers on, or recovering from a serious hungover, with ‘bed hair’, and still wearing make-up from the night before, only to realize that the interview was filmed. In both occasions the host decided to reschedule. It was uncomfortable for everyone.
    • Promotional content: even if you’re speaking on a Zoom call, your guest may want to use the video for social media teasers or for their sizzle reel. Look sharp!
  2. Respect the allocated time and be ready
    • Don’t be late. This is a very basic rule, that obviously also applies to Podcasting. Being late to an appointment always sends the message that the person on the other end isn’t important enough. Use a system to help you manage your podcast bookings.
    • Don’t reschedule less than an hour (or even 24 hours) before the interview is due. Life happens but I’ve met some pretty serious guests who found it so disrespectful, that they cancelled the interview altogether. Ensure that you send a 24-hour confirmation email (which you can automate) before the interview to avoid disappointment.
    • Add a reminder to your calendar and have your recording software, microphone and headphones ready and tested at least 15 minutes prior to interview time. Technical issues can happen at the most inconvenient time but it’s better to not leave your guest waiting.
  3. Prep your guest
    • Consider making a test call to iron out any troubleshooting or technical difficulties ahead of time. Send your guest a list of best practices and equipment so that you don’t waste time helping your guest ‘set up’.
    • If your guest has a name that’s hard to pronounce, consider this LinkedIn hack to impress them. And always read the literature they sent over.
    • Have clear expectations and a written track all elements, including expectations, payment or no payment, episode revisions, intellectual property and release forms from your guest. More on how to protect your Podcast on this video with Lawyer Amanda Montgomery.
  4. Focus on the power of your words – drop your ego
    • Have you ever listened to a Podcast interview where you struggled to keep up with the conversation because one person kept interrupting the other one? As the host, your role is to guide the conversation, adding value to the audience not to fill the audio waves at every given opportunity. Be courteous at all times and let your guest finish their point, interrupt only when necessary. If you already noticed this as a habit – that’s good news – being aware is the first step to stopping these habits.
  5. Put phones away and on silent
    • Unexpected interruptions can not only be rude but also disrupt the episode’s flow. Have no distractions or ‘pings’ draining your attention.
  6. Can you take breaks?
    • To drink water: totally ok. A lot of people feel awkward about this one and I never really surely get why. It’s a natural thing to do!
    • To clear your throat: any vocal coach will tell you that if you are experiencing discomfort, by clearing your throat, you’ll only make it worse. Drink water instead and do not try to carry on as usual – you’ll only make the discomfort worse.
    • To take bathroom breaks: not really unless it’s an emergency, plan ahead.
    • To reset equipment: always take a minute to reset your microphone – if you don’t, you may have to spend hours fixing issues in post-production!
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