So, you are about to be interviewed as a guest on a podcast. Are you wondering what are the most common mistakes that guests make and how can you avoid them? Well, this list is for you. Here are the Top 10 Mistakes that Podcast guests make.
#1 Being in a Noisy Room
Before you do your interview, pick out the space where it will happen. You want a quiet space where you will not be interrupted. You want a room with as little echo or reverb as possible. Try recording an audio sample on your laptop. Read a poem or something. Then listen to the recording. How does it sound? Is there too much background noise? Maybe you have a noisy fan or a loud coworker. Maybe the recording sounds like you are in a tiny metal box or big cave? If your sample sounds terrible, you need to find a different space or fix the problems. You’re never going to sound perfect and that is okay. You just don’t want to sound bad.
#2 Reading from Notes
Being interviewed can be scary. Especially, if it is your first time. It is a great idea to have some notes to refer to. It is a terrible idea to try to read from your notes verbatim. If you answer a question by reading a pre-written answer, you are going to sound unprofessional. You are probably going to sound awkward, scared, and boring. If you need to read something, announce it and keep it short. An interview is supposed to be a conversation. Reading directly from your notes will quickly turn it into a dull monologue.
#3 Not Having an Updated Computer
Make sure your computer is up to date. You don’t want to have a software update to happen during recording. These updates can hurt the audio quality and be distracting. The worst case is when your computer automatically reboots during the interview. You can avoid this by making sure everything is up to date a couple days before the interview. This means the OS, browsers, and any VoIP software like Skype.
#4 Not Showing Up
The most important thing you can do as a guest is to show up. Most interviewers will work with you on setting up an agreed upon time for the interview. Please, try to show up on time. We all have busy schedules. If you don’t show up on time, you are wasting the interviewer’s time. The worst thing to do is completely miss the scheduled interview altogether. Be professional. If you are going to be late, send an email explaining your situation. If you forget about the scheduled interview, contact the host as soon as possible and apologize. The host has probably spent time doing research, setting up to record, and has reserved time to talk to you. If you are lucky the host will allow you to reschedule. But you have no right to reschedule, if you forgot. You wasted the hosts time and they might not want to risk it again.
#5 Not Answering the Question
Evasion is a crutch that many guests use during interviews. From presidential debates to podcast interviews we have all seen it. Just because the host tolerated you dodging the question, that does not mean the audience will. The most common method is when a guest will answer the question they want to answer but not the question that was asked. The audience will notice. They may think that you are incompetent or dishonest. Don’t take that risk. Always assume the audience is smarter than you.
#6 Not Reading Emails
The host or producer of the podcast will probably send you some details about the interview. Usually this will include when it will happen, how you will connect, and often the topics to be covered. You should read this email. Don’t wait till the last minute. Read it as soon as you can. If you have any questions, you should ask them before the interview is scheduled to start.
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, always assume that swearing and other foul language is not allowed. If it is allowed fine, but it is better to be safe than sorry. The same thing goes for crude jokes and derogatory comments. Remember, this conversation is being recorded and will be publicly released. Try not to say anything that you will later regret.
#8 Not Knowing What You are Talking About
Do not agree to do an interview about a subject that you are not knowledgeable about. Your ignorance will quickly become apparent. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest expert. But don’t say yes to an interview just to say yes. You will not be able to BS your way through it. The host might be gracious about your deception, but the audience will not. People on the internet love to point out when someone is wrong. If you lie about your expertise they will attack you without mercy. It is always okay to say, I don’t know.
#9 Not Being Engaging
Listeners will not listen to a boring interview. If you are answering questions with monosyllabic answers, you are being boring. An interview is a conversation. Conversations are a dance. The host and the guest need to work together. Even if the host is asking dumb questions, you can give interesting answers. Maybe your interesting answers will inspire better questions.
#10 Not Being Cordial
This is simple. Be friendly. Don’t be mean. Say please and thank you. Don’t try to assert your social dominance. This is not the place for that. Even if the host is being antagonistic. Keep being nice. You can’t win a fight with the host. If things get bad, just end the interview. Remember, this is being recorded and will be released publicly.
Originally published at jasonrigden.com.