Unrehearsed interviews have the unique, authentic feeling to them that listeners love so much. But does it mean you shouldn't have your questions for the interview episode ready in advance? And even if you craft some great podcast questions, should you send them to your guests upfront?
If you're recording podcast interviews, these questions might frequently come up. From one side, you don't want to run an episode without a planned show agenda. At the same time you don't want your show to sound like a well-prepared performance.
Well, we might help you to make the right choice. This blog is all about preparing good questions for your podcast;
-- How to choose the most intriguing questions?
-- How to be ethical when asking questions?
-- And, of course:what are some fun questions to ask on a podcast?
The balance between keeping it intriguing and respecting your host's personal space
As intrigues usually sell well, asking sharp questions during an interview might instantly increase your show's popularity. However, this might also make your guests uncomfortable, leaving them confused and stressed in front of the audience.
So, a professional host should balance producing an intriguing show and keeping guests comfortable and relaxed with the asked questions. If your guests don't mind being questioned on any aspect of their professional and personal life, you're good to go with any script. Otherwise, discussing at least the general scope of questions with the host in advance can be a smart idea.
It's also worth noting that high-profile guests won't agree to be guests on your interview podcast if you don't discuss the show's scope and the main questions with them in advance. For such cases, you need to send the documented questions for the podcast to the guest for approval.
The formula for crafting the best podcast questions
There are a few steps to prepare highly targeted questions for your guests. You should do a good research on the guest's personal and professional life and take time to understand which unrevealed aspects of their life might interest your audience the most? If you're interested in the detailed steps of crafting some great podcast questions, we recommend you look at our guide for choosing interview questions. On top of that, here are two tips to keep in mind for having the best interviews out there.
Tip 1: Do not repeat the already asked questions
The competitive advantage of your interview podcast should be the exclusivity of the content. This means listeners want to tune in for information they haven't heard anywhere else before. So, make sure you study other interviews of your guest. This is necessary for not repeating the same questions that they were already asked during other shows.
If you are a good negotiator, you can also agree with your guests for an exclusive right to discuss some sensitive topic only during your interview. If you're polite and respectful enough, you might get that chance, which will be an excellent hook for your podcast listeners.
Tip 2: Don't start the interview with personal questions
Cutting to the chase is not always a good idea. The rule of thumb says it's usually good to start with some professional or general questions and only then gradually move to more personal/sensitive topics.
This is important for several reasons.
- By doing so, you give your guest a chance to warm up and feel more comfortable talking to you. So, if you don't want your guests to avoid your questions and not share with you some personal information, don't be too pushy from the start.
- Though you study your audience interests before choosing a guest, some of your audience might still be unfamiliar with the person you interview. So, it's a good idea to start with general questions and let the guest introduce themselves.
- You should keep your listeners engaged and interested during the whole show so that they want to stay tuned in til the end. As personal questions are usually trickier, it's best to keep them for the end of the show.
Don't look further
Enough with instructions on preparing the right questions for a podcast interview. In fact, with every next interview, you will become more experienced in asking more profound questions and keeping your audience engaged..
Before you become a podcast interview guru, we've crafted some hard-hitting questions that will work well for your interviews, no matter the guest. Save the list, and thank us later.
Top 20 personal questions for podcast
- What is one thing you would never change in yourself?
- What would you wish to know 5 years ago?
- What's the funniest story in your life?
- What's something you wish you could erase from your memory forever?
- What is one thing your morning can't start without?
- What's your formula for healing up from challenging situations?
- Would you choose a safe & boring life over an adventurous but risky one?
- Do you love your future or past more?
- If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?
- Did you change much from what you were a year ago?
- What's your life motto?
- What you'd never dare do no matter what the reward?
- What's one thing you will continue doing no matter what?
- Are you happy?
- What would you want to add to your life with a magic stick?
- What was the last time you got really surprised?
- Does it take you long to make crucial decisions?
- How did you feel before coming to this interview?
- Is there a question you wish I won't ask you today?
- What's the meaning of life for you?
Top 20 professional questions
- Would you recommend others pursue your career? Why?
- What's the top 1 advice you will give to newbies in your industry?
- Describe a turning point in your career?
- What's the biggest challenge in your profession?
- Tell us about one professional achievement you're proud of most?
- Is there a professional failure that embarrasses you? How did you deal with it?
- What's your source of motivation?
- Do you feel appreciated enough for the work you are doing?
- What are the top 3 characteristics you consider when hiring teammates?
- What does your ideal work partner look like?
- Why did you choose your profession?
- Do you think you can pursue your current professionuntil the end of your life?
- What are the top 3 work conditions that make you most productive?
- How would you rate the general competency in your industry?
- Is networking critical in your industry?
- What's your competitive advantage over your colleagues?
- What professional achievements are you going to have this year?
- Why does your profession make you happy?
- What are the top 3 professional books you would recommend to others?
- Do you think your profession will still be demanded in 10 years from now?
Before you go
Besides having all these questions at your hand, it would be good to have some signature questions to ask any guest regardless of professional background.
That question can be asked either at the start or the end of the show,becoming the key element of your podcast. It could be anything from a serious to a fun question, or even advice such as "which three books would you recommend our listeners to read?". Whatever you choose, make sure the question is interesting for your target audience, and they don't get bored with listening to its answers in every episode.