Make ‘Em Look Good …

by Erik K. Johnson

Make ’em look good.

(photo by Piksells)

When you have a guest on your podcast, it is your job as the interviewer to make the interviewee look good. You are the professional. You know everything there is to know about your podcast. Your guest is new to your show. They may even be new to interviewing. Help them.

When you help your guest get comfortable and look good, you help them successfully promote whatever it is they came on your show to promote. They will be grateful for that. Your guest will see the benefit of being a guest on your show. You will develop a reputation. That success will help you book even better guests in the future. Word will spread.

There are a three steps you can take to help your guest look good.

First, ask open-ended questions. This will allow your guest to convey the information they have come to share. If you ask yes/no questions, your guest will be stuck trying to figure out how to get his point across. It will also be easy for him to simply say “yes” and leave it at that. You will then be the one trying to find the next point to make. Open-ended questions allow your guest to elaborate on their subject.

Second, know why your guest is on your show and help them make their point. Do a short pre-interview before you start the show. Ask them about the important points they would like to hit. Then during the show, ask them questions that help them make those points. If your guest tells you their spouse really had a huge impact on their success, ask them about their biggest influences in their success. Make it easy for them.

Lastly, get out of the way. You don’t need to show your guest or your audience how much you know about their topic. It is their topic. So many hosts ask long, elaborate questions proving just how smart they are and how much they know about the subject. If the host knows it all, there is really no reason to have a guest. (see “One Of You Isn’t Necessary“.) Ask great questions because you know so much. That ability will make you look much better than actually knowing.

Using our previous example of spousal influence, you do not want to say, “Your wife played a huge role in your success with her support. That must have been a real help to you.” You just stole his thunder. You’ve only left him the option to say, “Yes” and make some menial points.

Instead ask, “Who was the one person other than yourself most responsible for your success?” You’ve created some anticipation for your audience. You’ve also just thrown him a softball that he can knock out of the park with a fantastic answer about his wife. He looks great for having such a stellar answer. You also look great for asking such a brilliant question. Everybody wins.

Help your guest succeed. Allow them to answer great questions. Most of all, make ’em look good.