So, you’ve got your guest’s pre-interview out of the way, and you’re about to hit the record button -
As the host, it’s up to you to guide your guest through the recording session.
You probably know what direction you’d like to take your interview, but how do you stay on course?
The most important thing to remember is that your guest is the star of the show. Therefore, tailor your questions to them.
Your listeners are tuning in wanting to hear authentic answers relevant to your podcast’s niche. So, ask questions that will give the people what they want.
After all, nobody likes to have their time wasted - including your guest.
So to save you time, we’ve compiled 20 questions for your podcast interview to set you on the path to success!
I recommend you find a unique spin on each of these for your brand. But what matters is that you get the most bang for your buck out of your interview.
Let’s get started with questions about your guest’s professional and personal life!
Your Guest’s Profession and Personality
You may be thinking, “Whoa, Robb, I don’t want to dig into my guest’s personal life. We barely know each other!”
Absolutely, you should keep the tone of the interview professional; you’re a B2B podcast, not The Joe Rogan Experience.
However, you can phrase a question in a way that allows the guest to touch on something personal as an option.
For example, I love how host James Robert Lay opens up each episode of Banking on Digital Growth:
“Before we get started, [Guest], I always like to start the show on a positive note. What is going well for you personally or professionally? It’s always your pick to get started.”
James Robert leaves the perfect opening for his guest to elaborate on a highlight of their personal life or avoid it altogether.
If you’d prefer to keep your interview strictly business, that’s okay! Remember, though, that your guest (and your listeners!) are all human beings, not robots.
People care about personal branding. By giving your audience a sneak peek into your guest’s personality, you will build an emotional bridge for your listeners.
With that said, here are ten sample questions you can ask your guest about their professional or personal life:
How was your summer/winter/holiday/vacation? (This may be something that comes up casually in your pre-interview)
What is your team working on right now?
What has been the most significant challenge for your team this year?
How do you handle interdepartmental disputes?
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self before you took this job?
What’s a common misconception about your job?
How do you keep your team motivated when you run into a roadblock?
Who or what inspired you to pursue this career?
What have you found most rewarding about your role?
Where do you hope to see your company in 3/5/10 years?
Your Guest’s Field
You should also ask questions about your guest’s field to establish their credibility.
After all, while you are well aware of their experience, your audience may not be!
Here are five questions you could use to draw good content from your guest about their industry:
What are the biggest changes your industry has seen since you started?
What are you most excited about for the future of your field?
What is the number one thing that is wrong with your industry today?
What direction do you hope your industry takes given (X)?
How well do you think the industry has dealt with (Y)?
Your Guest’s Continuing Education
By “continuing education,” I don’t mean strictly academic pursuits.
How is your guest staying motivated and growing?
After all, your audience is listening to your show to learn. So, what is your guest doing to keep their wits sharp - personally or professionally?
These questions can also tie into your guest’s work-life balance (yet another reason why I encourage you to give your guest the chance to bring personal points into the conversation!):
What’s your go-to brain fuel?
What tip would you give the listener about what we discussed today?
If you could pick one person's brain, who would it be?
What line of thinking do you think is flawed?
Is there anything we failed to cover that you’d like to share?
Game Plan vs. Game Flow
Remember, game planning your interview is essential, but some of the best conversations happen organically.
The critical takeaway is asking questions that focus on your guest’s perspective.
When your guest hits on an interesting topic, don’t be afraid to follow up with real strategy questions: why, what, and how.
“Why is that, [Guest]?”
“What do you mean by (X), [Guest]?”
“How do we do that, [Guest]?”
Expanding on your guest’s answers can give the audience unique insight they may not find anywhere else.
A Polished Product
Listeners want to harvest the wisdom and knowledge your guest brings to the table.
So, always ask questions about your guest’s unique background and perspective.
Your audience will thank you for it by remaining engaged with your product.
If you’d like some more help writing great questions for for your podcast, drop us a line!