You wouldn’t turn up for a job interview unprepared, and nor should you turn up to your podcast interview without knowing something about your guest. Research is fundamental to getting the most out of any interview you do.
In this episode of Elevating Experts, Captain Obvious pops back in to discuss one of the finer points of producing a podcast – research! Here are some of our top tips:
- Know who your guest is
- Know what your guest is talking about
- Look for new ways to engage them on their story
Dorothy Dix was a pseudonym for American Journalist and columnist, Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. Whilst people use the term “Dorothy Dixer” in a derogatory form for when questions are framed to support the speaker’s response, she was much more heavily involved in the suffragette movement than this attribute give her credit for. Read a bit more about her here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Dix
Which Brian May did you want to speak to?
Andy: The best way to get the most out of any interview you do is good old research. I’m Andy Le Roy
Louise: And I’m Louise Poole, and we’re giving you the insights to help elevate you as an expert in your field
Andy: Hey Louise, remember the time you gave the name of someone to one of your producers to line up an interview and they secured the wrong person?
Louise: Like it was only yesterday, Andy, or that time another producer didn’t quite go the extra step in finding out about a potential guest, then locked them in for what turned out to be a disappointingly shallow interview
Andy: I mean, I don’t want to sound nasty, but
Louise: I know… it’s time for a chat with
Sting: Captain Obvious
Louise: Hey there Captain Obvious, looks like Andy has mysteriously stepped out again just as you flashed in
Captain Obvious: It’s always the guilty who run first, Louise mwhahahaha
Louise: I say nothing, Captain Obvious, but you’ve been looking over our careers, you’ve got the benefit of our hindsight… where did we, and other new players in the field go wrong?
Captain Obvious: Very good question, Louise. One of the first things you really need to do is know something about your guest.
Louise: It sounds kind of obvious…
Captain Obvious: That’s my name, don’t wear it out… but it’s something painfully simple, and excruciatingly important! What are the odds of finding someone with very similar skills and the same name?
Louise: Pretty small, I would have thought
Captain Obvious: True, but small is not zero. You know as well as I do that detail is important
Louise: Gotcha, so when I say to my producer, see if you can get hold of the musician Brian May
Captain Obvious: yes… go on…
Louise: I should probably add that the Brian May I want to talk to is the one who plays guitar for Queen… otherwise…
Captain: you could very well be launching into a conversation about Bohemian Rhapsody to the other Brian May who composed the score for Mad Max.
Captain Obvious: And while we’re at it
Captain Obvious: The business world is full of people with lots of different skills and backgrounds
Louise: Well… obviously…
Captain Obvious: So it only supports the notion that you should hold off on the invitation…
Louise: Until you know the person you have spotted can talk about what you want to talk about
Captain Obvious: Yes… LinkedIn sprees are oodles of fun until you lock in a guest who works in a position of authority in a related organisation…
Louise: But they’re in their position because of their business acumen, not because of their specific subject matter experience the organisation is known for
Captain: Correct. So before you send out the search party for those well connected guests, it makes a lot of obvious good sense to know what your guest talks about
Louise: I feel attacked, Captain Obvious… you don’t mean I have to become an expert before I open the mic, though, do you?
Captain Obvious: obviously not, but looking at some articles they’ve written and some videos they’ve uploaded is a wonderful way to get your hooks into the meat of their passion
Louise: You do paint a picture, don’t you… but… doesn’t that make the interview sound more like a Dorothy Dix interview?
Captain Obvious: Even Dorothy had her place, but I’m suggesting you will be able to get some real depth into your conversation by picking up on some smaller interesting points along the way, instead of asking those surface level questions
Louise: I’d never want to do that, Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious: And nor do you with your raft of experience!
Louise: I’m flattered!
Captain Obvious: (clearing throat) and that brings me onto how this all supports your main goal with any interview…
Louise: To look for new ways to engage people about their story?
Captain Obvious: Obviously
Louise: It sounds like what you’re saying, really, is to slow down and get to know your subject a little bit better so you can spend your interview time getting to know them a whole lot better
Captain Obvious: Couldn’t have said it better myself
Louise: Oh! Here comes Andy – let’s share it with him.
Captain Obvious: Oh. Must dash, but here are my notes you can share with him. Bye for now.
Louise: Oh. Um, bye, Captain Obvious
Andy: Oh man, did I miss him again?
Louise: You two really have to meet some day – you’ll love Captain Obvious! Anyway, here’s a quick run down on what you missed… follow on with these notes he left…
Andy: Gotcha. Right. First thing Captain Obvious says is “know who your guest is”
Louise: Yes – especially if you’re working with someone else on securing them… you want to make sure you’ve got the right person!
Andy: Seems obvious
Andy: Next he says to know what your guest is talking about
Louise: yes. It’s always better to get some well rounded background information on your guest, because it will help you to…
Andy: Look for new ways to engage your guest on their story
Louise: Your guest has probably spoken to heaps of people about the same topic, and probably answered the same questions over and over again
Andy: Ah, OK, so Captain Obvious is telling us to try and spice it up by finding a new angle
Louise: Or maybe some little tangent that makes them come alive, but they don’t get to explore much
Andy: I suppose that will make it much more interesting for them and you
Louise: And for everyone who listens in
Andy: Well, thanks Captain Obvious, wherever you are. We’ll leave your nuggets of wisdom in the show notes
Louise: And next time on Elevating Experts, five common mistakes podcasters make
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Elevating Experts is an Australian short form podcast series, with new episodes released Mondays, where we help content creators and podcasters by sharing tips to improve your skills & simplify your processes, and elevate you as an expert in your field!
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Louise has worked in Australian commercial radio, media and broadcasting for over 20 years, in on air and brand management roles. Her CV includes hosting 973fm Brisbane, Queensland, morning radio announcer and music director for 8+ years, Content Director of Darwin, Northern Territory radio stations MIX 1049, Hot 100. More info about Louise Poole here.
Andy has over twenty years leadership experience, across a range of fields including broadcasting, aged care and telecommunications. His CV includes Darwin’s top rating drive-time radio program to managing a successful community radio station in Adelaide, South Australia, helping it to expand its community appeal by leading the station to innovate its content. More info about Andy Le Roy here