Next to professional recording equipment and a set or sound studio, pre-interviewing is the most important ingredient in creating a successful podcast episode or livestream.
MediaFace CEO Lisa Bragg compares pre-interviewing to her journalism days. “Pre-calls let you see if your person is qualified, authentic, and prepared to be recorded,” she says. “It saves tons of time in the long run.” Pre-interviewing cuts down on the “thinking” time a guest needs to answer a question, and can be done by a show producer to save your busy host some time.
In addition to saving time, the pre-interview helps prepare a nervous guest and allows them to be their best self on camera or behind the mic. You might think that rehearsing an interview could lead to canned answers, but the opposite is true: it allows the host or interviewer to suss out the most engaging story, and tailor their questions to that story in the live version. This still allows for candid moments between the interviewer and guest during the actual recording – but provides a narrative thread to tie the whole thing together.
A pre-interview will also reveal sticking points with your guest. As Lisa says, you want them to come across as a real person, but you’d never want them to feel uncomfortable. There’s a fine line between vulnerability and embarrassment, so make sure you stick to the former. Remember that a happy guest is going to be an ambassador for your podcast or live stream show, so give them a result that they can be proud of, and a wonderful experience they’ll never forget.
Don’t forget to pre-interview for your next episode! If you’re looking to start a live show or podcast, but aren’t sure where to start, contact us.