How To Be An Outstanding Podcast Guest

You have probably heard by now that being a Podcast Guest is one of the best ways to promote your company, service or book. But if the thought of speaking to a mass audience in front of a mic scares the life out of you, then you are not alone. Surveys inform us that fear of public speaking tops fear of death or spiders as America’s #1 phobia.

So how can you overcome this fear and take the stress level down a notch? How can you prepare and deliver an outstanding interview? Here are some points that you may find helpful:

Familiarise yourself with the show - prepare well for your scheduled interview by doing a little research. Simply start by going to iTunes, find the show and read the description. Visit the host's website and read his bio page. Listen to an episode of the show and pay attention to the host's style - does he/she have a serious manner, or are they relaxed with a touch of humor? Adapt to fit their style and audience without forgetting to be yourself.

Prepare an outline - remember that podcast interviews are meant to be conversational, so list a few key points that you can refer to if needed. Some hosts may provide you with questions beforehand, you can use those to prepare an outline, but don’t be too dependant on your notes.

Warm up your voice - talking out loud a couple of minutes before the interview, sing if you wish, but get those vocal cords warmed-up. It's never a bad idea to have a glass of water handy for during the recording. If the nerves are kicking in, take a moment to calm down and relax, take a few deep breaths and smile. Yes, smile! Your interview may be audio-only but a genuine smile not only helps calm you down but is also reflected in your voice.

Stay on track - stick to the subject being discussed. The audience has chosen to listen to your episode to hear information about the subject title. Going off on a long tangent about unrelated items will leave your host scratching his head wondering how he/she can save the show.

Avoid long-winded answers - have you ever listened to someone, and wondered if they are ever going to stop speaking? It might be they have gotten to the end of their explanation and not even answered the question. Do that on an interview and you will lose the majority of the audience. In the world of podcasting, there are hundreds of experts in any given field. The most remembered are the ones with the best solutions and the best answers. So keep your answers clear, concise and informative.

Speak with conviction - a big mistake would be to hide that awesome personality of yours behind a monotone voice. A person who speaks in a monotone voice or with little expression may be perceived as untrustworthy, even bored or not interested in the subject he/she is talking about. A real conversation killer! Practice varying your pitch so the conversation is entertaining and easy to listen to.

Pay attention to speech quality - not only to what you say but how you say it. Slow down, enunciate your words, and don’t forget the power of a well-timed pause. Used in the right places pauses help you build an emotional connection with your audience. Think of TED Talks speakers, the best ones have nailed the art of the pause.

Watch out for the trap of filling in the gaps with word whiskers, such as ah, um, uh, er. You may have a habit that you're unaware of. Practice with a friend, have them count the number of times you repeat a pet phrase, analyze it and write "Do NOT use -----!"  in big red letters in the column of your notes. 

Use a good microphone - there is nothing more annoying than a buzz, background noise, or echo, of a low-quality recording! Some hosts may even choose to not air your episode if the quality is poor.

A great entry-level mic is the ATR2100, the CAD U37 or the Samson Q2U. If you want to go for even higher quality, take a look at the Rode NT1A, AT2020USB+ or the Focusrite Scarlett Studio Pack. If you are going pro check out the Shure SM7b or the Heil PR40.

For a complete list and review read The Best Microphones for Podcasting.

The golden rule - be relaxed! Be yourself and let your personality shine through. Don't be afraid to talk about your business/career lows and failures, as well as the highs and strengths. And enjoy the interview! Chances are you will befriend the host, gaining a great connection, and the listeners are more likely to trust you and want to check you out further.

Being a great guest comes down to being an adaptable conversationalist and a good public speaker. It is an art that can be developed and perfected. The more interviews you do, the better you will become and you’ll be well on your way to being a sought-after guest with a loyal following.

Podcasting is here to stay - master the art!

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Written by Natalie Davey

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