Here I want to share crucial lessons for interview podcasts that I learned from doing my podcast for over a year: a podcast on a wide variety of subjects with long-form conversations. By now I did over 30 interviews for The Connecting Dots Podcast.

The following 3 lessons are simple. Some may read them and may think, “so what?! that’s obviously the case!”, assuming everybody knows that. But you can not assume people know that. Once you’re podcasting you’re doing a million different things:

  • working on a landing page
  • handling the distribution of each episode
  • planning the next episodes
  • asking people for an interview
  • arranging a location
  • researching the guest
  • writing down the questions
  • sending the questions to the guest
  • audio and video editing of the episodes that are already recorded
  • and so on …

And if podcasting is not your main job but merely a hobby or side hustle, then good luck with finding enough time to podcast! When you’re so deep into the podcast grind, you tend to forget the simple and obvious things. So take this as a reminder:

1. Good preparation is key

Don’t fail because you’re not well prepared! Get the preparation of your interview right. Dig deep in the internet for what you can find on your podcast guest. It’s on you if you fail because of a lack of preparation! I already gave clues for the podcast preparation in other blog posts: good startup questions for interview podcasts, the job of the interviewer and the 3 most important factors of a good sounding podcast.

2. Your podcast guest is also responsible for the quality of the interview

You can prepare yourelf as well as possible – if the person you interview is not delivering good stuff, then your preparation is not worth much.

So, don’t beat yourself up over not getting a very good interview when the interviewee is not sharing high quality input. Both of you have to deliver – not just you as interviewer!

3. Tell your guest that it’s a conversation

Some people, esp. older guests sometimes tend to think of my podcast recordings as short and very professional back-and-forth. They maybe have an interview in mind like you would find it in a big newspaper: short and to the point. Or in the radio or TV when an expert on finances gives a 3 minute interview about the current development of the stock market. The guests who are not familiar with the modern culture of laid-back honest long-form conversational podcasts need to be reminded that it is a conversation, not an interrogation or short-form expert interview.

A conversation lives off of people sharing their opinion, stories and thoughts. Some guests understand this game, others do not. Before most interviews I emphasize that over-sharing is not a problem. I can cut out stuff later. What I can not do is edit in stuff after the recording session because it’s too time consuming and logistically tiring.

So, if you’re a future guest of my podcast: Please understand that a conversation lives off a lively back and forth. Thank you. ­čśë

My podcast, The Connecting Dots Podcast, consists of conversations with startup founders and other people who carve out their own path. With them I talk about their experiences, lessons learned and ideas. You find it on YouTube and the podcast player of your choice:

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