5 Questions Every Podcast Host Should Ask Their Guests – Temi
8 September 2022

5 Questions Every Podcast Host Should Ask Their Guests – Temi

Do podcast interviews completely differ from other types of interviews? No, they don’t. Like in a regular interview, the host asks the questions and the guests answer. If you are hosting an interview, you have a hard job of preparing for it the right way. There are two main aspects you need to think of. The first is to ask your guest the right questions so that they feel comfortable answering them. The second is to organize and navigate through the interview. It should be done in a way that your audience stays with you throughout the whole podcast episode and enjoys it.

What makes podcast interviews unique is the fact that they seem pretty informal. There is no pressure on whether someone will make a mistake while talking. The host and the guest look like two good friends having a relaxed conversation that could last for hours. There is no time limit or the pressure of not being allowed to say something. So, you and your guests could possibly use curse words, slang, or even smoke and have an alcoholic beverage while discussing some important questions. As a listener, one can simply sense that vibe of easiness and feel relaxed as well.

The focus of an episode determines the type of questions a host would ask their guest. If the focus is on a certain topic, as a podcaster, you will make sure to invite a guest that is an expert on the matter. If the focus is on a particular guest, you can carefully tailor your questions to that guest, their work, or their lifestyle. It is important to remember to ask open-ended questions. It will allow your guests to provide you with long answers instead of a simple yes or no answer.

How to Create an Engaging Podcast

For a podcaster, especially if you are only starting as one, it is really difficult to fulfill all the demands of what makes a good podcast episode. Here are a few examples:

• Be friendly but not too much.

• Ask interesting and engaging questions.

• Listen to the previous interviews and find all those questions that no one before you had ever asked your guest.

• Lead the interview so that it seems as if the conversation is simply flowing.

• Think of your audience and imagine them next to their devices. Think of what would make them participate in your conversation with an occasional ‘Aaah’, ‘ok’, ‘no’, ‘I get it’, ‘yes’, or ‘this is 100% true’.

Do not forget the marketing, countless research, checking out the competition and finding ways to beat them, SEO, ads, etc. So many rules need to be followed. And when you listen to others doing it, especially professionals, it just looks so easy. However, remember to always ask yourself this: “How do I attract more audiences and keep the existing ones?” The answer to this will help you improve your work. A growing audience is a powerful booster that can make you continue pushing forward. It will also inspire you to be even better at what you do.

Once you set and sort out all the technicalities like the format of a podcast, the length of the episodes, and the schedule of how often you will publish them, check your gear. You’ll also need to choose the right equipment for recording and editing the episodes. When all that is done, there is one more important thing left to be taken care of—the transcript.

Why Do You Need a Transcript for Your Podcast?

Having a transcript version of your episodes is a must. It is a well-known fact that your content will more likely reach the right audience if you choose the right title for the videos. Moreover, having the entire interview in written form is highly useful for those who prefer reading to listening. In cases when someone wants to watch the episode but can’t listen to it for some reason, the titles come in handy. Then the person doesn’t have to wait for a convenient moment to listen to that episode. They can simply watch it and read along the way.

For the transcription part, GoTranscript.com can do that job for you. It won’t only save your time, but it’ll allow you to enjoy some well-deserved rest time or use it for something different and productive. No matter the focus of your podcast, be it a topic or a guest, the following 5 questions can be asked in both cases:

1. How Would Your Family and Friends Describe You?

We all act differently when we are around the people we know. Then we feel safe and show our true nature. All the masks are down compared to when we are surrounded by people we don’t know well, such as acquaintances or coworkers.

Your guest’s answers to this question will let your listeners find out more about your guest. It will also warm the guest up to talk about themselves from someone else’s perspective. This can give you an insight into what type of person your guest truly is. They could open up and talk freely about themselves. It is always fascinating to learn how they act when surrounded by the people close to them, as opposed to strangers. You might also discover how their environment helped them become the person they are today.

The audience, on the other hand, will be given a chance to enjoy some interesting stories they don’t often have a chance to hear. It will help them learn more about your guest. Usually, they will form an opinion on them, or change the existing one based on an interview.

2. What Obstacles Did You Have to Overcome at the Beginning of Your Career?

Now, think for a second of a famous person, a celebrity, or a wealthy businessman. What do you see? A happy, well-dressed person, looking like they have no life struggles. Is that true? Are they truly carefree? Probably not.

If your guest is a successful person now, that doesn’t mean that they have always been famous, wealthy, or successful. Every success story has to start somewhere. Those beginnings are usually stressful and filled with constant change. Before one finds a pattern that functions, they need to invest a lot of time and energy in a project or a company. That very beginning, when everything started, is so easily forgotten by the audience.

Many want to be rich, successful, and happy. And as an audience, we tend to ascribe those qualities to people that possess them in the present moment. However, we forget that that wasn’t always the case. It is all too easy to forget the initial struggle that a person had to endure. Only when we hear about all the obstacles one has to overcome to reach their goal, do we start to admire the person. Sometimes, we even compare ourselves to them. We start to like them because they don’t give up and because they believe in themselves and their success.

3. What Have You Learned From Your Mistakes?

People have different opinions on mistakes. Some dread making them, others think they are necessary for progress and development. However, there are those that consider mistakes to be the best lessons one can get on their way to success.

If your guest feels comfortable talking about the mistakes they have made in their life and career, feel free to dig deeper. Ask them how they felt in those moments. How big did they think the mistakes were at the time? How serious were those mistakes compared to some others they had made before or later in their career? By answering these questions, your guest will again reveal something about themselves. The audience will find out how making mistakes changed the guest’s approach to work or life. It will also help break the stereotype that successful people don’t make mistakes because they don’t have time for them.

The talk about mistakes might be inspiring to some people in the audience. It may help them reflect on the ones they’ve made in the past and change their perspective on making mistakes in general.This new knowledge can help a person stay on track, not lose focus, and make progress toward reaching their goals. 

4. What Is the One Thing That Always Drives You Toward Achieving Your Goals?

Asking this question can be a good strategy when a conversation becomes a bit steady. It might also come in handy if you can’t think of any additional questions to ask about the topic you and your guest are discussing. Also, if, at some point, you see that your guest is running out of answers, they will appreciate it if you help them out by asking a different question. And talking about inspiration and where to find it can easily save the moment and bring some fresh energy to the conversation. Unlike some people who can easily get carried away while talking about things that move them, others might need a small push. However, a smile on their faces or a spark in their eyes doesn’t remain unnoticed when talking about the things that inspire them.

Answers to this question will give the audience an insight into the guest’s personal experiences that they don’t share with others all the time. On the other hand, the audience is always searching for inspiration themselves. So, hearing about what inspires others can give them an idea of where to look for it in case they have lost theirs.

5. Is There a Question That You Expected to Get but I Haven’t Asked?

This question leaves the space for some additional stories that your guest wanted to share but couldn’t during your interview. They can use the time to talk more about the projects they are working on or to promote some future ones. At this point, your guest might use the opportunity to invite the audience to participate in something they are currently working on.

This question also enables your guest to speak about the possible misunderstandings from the past. They can bring some clarity to an event that has happened and left the general public puzzled. Your guest can share their point of view on how the event occurred.

You may receive a simple “no” as the answer to this question. But if your guest says “yes,” it will add strength to your interview. You will get something no one before you had. And your audience will love it because it will make them feel special.

The Bottom Line

Getting ready for an interview and thinking about the questions for your guest may appear to be a lot of work. However, if you do your homework correctly, it may result in a big success. Your guest will enjoy being interviewed by you, and your audience will love listening to it. They will wait with anticipation for your next podcast episode.

You are allowed to be spontaneous and ask some regular questions. It is usually a good idea to ask your guests about their musical tastes or food preferences. But make sure you know a lot about them so you don’t ask embarrassing questions like how their ex-partner is doing now that everyone knows they broke up.

As an interviewer, one of your tasks during the interview is to listen carefully to your guest. Show a real interest in their life, work, and thoughts. If a guest says something along the way and it sounds interesting to you, remember to go back to that part and ask for more details.

On the other hand, if you didn’t understand your guest while they were answering your question, don’t be afraid of asking them to answer it again. There is a great chance that if you did not understand the answer, someone in your audience also didn’t understand it. Asking your guest to paraphrase or repeat themselves doesn’t count as an embarrassing question. It is, however, a necessary one.

Also, invite your audience to comment, subscribe, and sign up for the newsletters before the end of the episode. Do not forget to have the transcription available for those who prefer reading. In case you require foreign subtitles for your worldwide audience, GoTranscript.com can help with that. Their experts will deliver the most accurate subtitles for your video since they provide subtitles for over 50 languages.