I’ve now done over 25 podcast interviews since launching my Macro Hive Conversations podcast show in March. I’ve interviewed high-profile policymakers like former Bank of England governor, Lord Mervyn King, top investors like Jim Leitner and leading academics like Professor Laura Veldkamp (she recently presented at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole gathering). I’ve learned a few things along the way, and a few people have asked me for tips, so here they are:
- Preparation is critical. I learn about the person’s career history. I review their recent articles, interviews and posts. Ahead of the interview, I share some talking points with them to make sure they can prepare too.
- Have a clear structure to the interview. I normally have a short monologue ahead of the interview, which I script. In that, I give some information on Macro Hive and give the bio of the person. For the interview itself, I’ve evolved the format and now I start by asking them some career questions like what motivated them to enter their field. Then I start the meat of the interview where we discuss the main topics we had agreed on. I end by asking some personal questions on favourite books and productivity hacks (my business partner, Andrew, actually suggested this to me). In that way, you get a rounded picture of the person.
- Listeners want to hear them, not you! This point has come to me from listening to tons of other podcast shows. I hate it when the interviewer talks more than the interviewee, especially for podcasts that aim to be very informative and educational. Therefore, I try to keep my speaking part to a minimum. I give them some acknowledgment along the way to make sure they feel they are not speaking in a vacuum. But my aim is for them to fully articulate their point. Sometimes I may interrupt for clarification or to move to the next topic. The aim is to make them sound great! I make sure to have some stock transitional phrases like “thank you, that was a great point and now what about…”
- Know how to end the interview! You can spend so much prep on the interview, you can easily forget how to end it and it can sound awkward. So I make sure I know what I will say to end the interview. It could be something like “This has been a great conversation, and we covered a lot of ground, so thank you very much…”
- Spend time editing the interview. Editing is essential. It allows you to remove “ums and ahs”, awkward silences, and unnecessary parts of the interview. It will take much much longer than the interview itself. My one-hour interviews usually require three to four hours of editing, which is pretty much the norm for professional shows. I use the free podcast editing software Audacity
- Don’t get too hung up on podcast equipment. You can easily enter the rabbit hole of searching for the best equipment. In the end, you have to remember that the main speaker, the podcast guest, will probably only be using their laptop microphone or a cheap headset. So it doesn’t matter what equipment you have on your end. It’s more important to tell them to turn off notifications, so there aren’t any random pings and to make sure they have good broadband access. On my side, I use Zoom to record the interviews and I use the USB Blue Yeti X microphone (see picture).
- But most importantly, make sure you put out regular shows. So even if you have perfect audio, cutting edge equipment, and radio quality editing, if your episodes only come out randomly you can easily lose your audience. It’s like exercise, its the regularity that matters. So don’t worry about being perfect, just get the shows done week in, week out
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