We started out this chapter by talking about respecting your guests. The best way to do that is by showing them you took the time to do prep work for the interview. If you are interviewing someone who wrote a book, then read the book. If you do multiple interviews in a week and do not have the time to read the whole book, make sure you at least researched the book's topic a little, read any reviews about the book, and find out what other works the author has done. If you are interviewing the CEO of a company, make sure you research the type of product or service the company offers. And if you are interviewing a podcaster, make sure you have listened to a few of his or her shows. If that person has a blog, read some of his or her blog postings too.
Rob remembers being interviewed in late October of 2005, when one of the first questions he was asked was, "Do you have any children?" Just one week earlier Rob had played the heartbeat of his unborn son on his podcast. He had also mentioned on numerous shows that this was going to be his first child. So right off the bat, Rob knew this person had not done any prep work. And as the questions unfolded, this fact became even more apparent, and Rob found himself looking at the clock on his computer and wondering, "When will the hurting stop?" When the interview was finally posted on that person's podcast, it sounded lifeless and very monotone, which was not good for either party.
Your guests are giving up time out of their daily life to come on your show and are doing you a favor. Don't ever forget that. You as an interviewer need to take time out of your life to properly prepare for the interview. Wichita had this to say on the subject:
To help smooth things along, make sure you have a handful of well-thought-out questions written down before the interview. Also have notes about subjects you would like to talk about. Not so much additional questions, but rather a subject matter you would like to explore. You can even relate a story that pertains to something the interviewee said in the public domain. For example, if interviewing another podcaster, you might use something like the following:
This lets the interviewee know you took the time to research him or her, and you can always edit out the story later on if it does not flow well.
Prep work is not just about respecting your guest, it is also about making the final production of the show easier. Bazooka Joe had this to say:
Some interviewers like to send a list of preliminary questions to the interviewee ahead of time to get some baseline information from their guests. However, our feeling is that pre-interview questions trash the spontaneity of the actual interview. A little prep work, especially when combined with a little pre-interview chat before you start asking questions, is the best method to use.
By having a general roadmap of what you want to ask and where you want to go with the interview before you start, you will make it easier come post-production to edit the show the way you like.