Going to be a guest on a podcast, webinar, or teleseminar? Here are the top tips to make sure you do an excellent job.
Last December I was the featured guest on the Text and Academic Authors Podcast. I really enjoyed being interviewed by Kim Pawlak of the TAA. I’ve been interviewed many times in my life on radio and television, but this was my first time on a podcast. The bulk of my speaking experience comes from teaching college-level American government and international relations courses back in the 1990s, so I’ve long been quite comfortable speaking to groups.
But the phone interview going live over the Internet is a slightly different beast. I prepared thoroughly, and I brought all my previous experience to bear on the endeavor. So here are my…
10 Tips for a Successful Podcast/Teleseminar Interview
1. Know Your Main Objectives
What do you most want to accomplish during the podcast?
• Help listeners learn more about your area of expertise?
• Get visitors to your website?
• Sell your services?
• Sell a product?
• Build your brand?
• Something else?
Weave your objectives into the podcast diplomatically. Make sure you mention your website address multiple times, and definitely at the beginning and end of the podcast.
2. Concentrate on Providing Value, Not on Promotion
Focus on what you can do to help the listeners and provide them the best return on their time investment. It doesn’t matter whether they paid actual money or not — their time is valuable to them, and they’re spending it on you.
3. Give Questions to the Interviewer Ahead of Time
I sent Kim a Word document with a set of questions that I knew most listeners would be eager to hear answered.
4. Outline Answers to Those Questions
I didn’t write out detailed answers. I did take the document I’d sent Kim and make a list of key points I wanted to make in my answer to each question.
5. Keep the Introduction Short
You’ll likely be introduced by the host if you are a guest, or you’ll have the opportunity to introduce yourself. If it’s the former, give her important info about you ahead of time, but not too much. Either way, you want your main qualifications presented, but then get on to the meat of the actual podcast. I’ve stopped listening to podcasts and teleseminars when the intro went to long, especially if I felt the main presenter was just getting started on a long-winded bragfest.
6. Have Additional Questions
Have a set of questions you’ve been asked before, perhaps on your blog, perhaps through e-mail, perhaps in person. That way you’re prepared to fill up the question time, if necessary, or make sure a teleseminar/podcast lasts its scheduled length.
7. Speak Slower Then You Think You Should
Slow your speaking rate down about 10-20%. You’ll still sound normal, but speaking slower allows you to both think about what you’re saying and also reduce mispronunciation and misspeaking. On a similar note…
8. Reduce “Ums” and “Uh”s and Filler Words by Pausing Instead
If you listen to many people talk, you’ll hear filler sounds and words: “um,” “uh,” “like,” “you know.” I still do this occasionally, but I’ve learned to pause while I compose my thoughts and decide what I want to say. The pauses usually aren’t long, and they can build anticipation in your listeners.
9. Deal Properly with Listener Questions
Many teleseminars and podcasts allow listeners to ask questions, usually near the end. I have two main pieces of advice, and both involve using a pen and paper.
First, jot down the name of the person asking the question. That way you can refer to her or him by name, which makes the interaction more personal and makes the questioner feel more important.
Second, write down the question, or a few words relevant to the question. That way you can jog your memory in case you get sidetracked as you begin to answer.
If you listen to the podcast I did, you’ll note I didn’t do so well with this. I did remember some names, but one person asked a two-part question, and by the time I’d answered the first part, I’d forgotten the second part.
Important: don’t let writing down the name and the question distract you from listening to the question. If you have any difficulty, don’t write anything down — just listen to the question and then answer it.
10. Don’t Fake It
If you get a question to which you don’t know the answer — either from the interviewer or a listener – say so, and then give potential resources that could help, like a website.
Listen to the Podcast Yourself!
See my previous post about my Freelance Writing for College Textbook Publishers podcast — you can read about the main topics I cover and also listen on the site or download the mp3.
Anything to add to the list? Share your knowledge and experiences with us!