‘In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.’’ – Dwight. D. Eisenhower
As the great Jeff Goldblum once said:
‘Life, uh, finds a way.’
When hosting a podcast, you’ll quickly learn that life finds a way of throwing curveballs into your recording session.
In Part 1 of this series, I reviewed proper microphone etiquette for you and your guest.
Now, I’d like to share some steps for prepping guests before an interview to ensure a smooth dialogue and some other ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts.’
Check Audio Input Before Recording
As the host, you should have supreme control over the volume of you and your guest.
Make sure your software’s input isn’t turned up to 11 before you hit record!
I recommend Riverside.fm to all of my clients, so I’ll use their interface as an example.
Whenever your mic is hot, you’ll see an active volume input on the bottom right corner of your screen. If you see those bars slamming into the red ‘danger zone’ when speaking, turn it down!
It will save everyone’s eardrums, especially your poor producer!
Put Your Guest At Ease
B2B podcasts are about conversation.
Be sure to let your guest know that it’s okay to mess up!
Unless your guest is a hardened veteran of interviews, they will probably stumble at some point.
Movies and TV have groomed us to have a post-production mindset when having a professional dialogue. But Hollywood is not real life!
Part of what makes us human is our imperfections.
Before you hit record, let your guest know that you have post-production in place to take care of repeated words or slip-ups. If that person ever gets flustered, reassure him or her that the two of you are just talking, and any blunders will be smoothed out later.
Not quite this...
Some hosts give an audible countdown when rolling into a conversation, but I prefer to provide a silent one.
Give your guest a visual countdown by extending your hand and pulling in your fingers.
Do the same when ending the show! Having a visual cue when wrapping will give everyone a moment to decompress; it will also give your producer a nice buffer in the cutting room.
At some point when recording, you’ll have to pump the brakes.
Perhaps you ask the wrong question, or you’re having technical difficulty - whatever the case, implement a few hand signals to convey instruction during your interview.
(Obviously, these gestures only work if you have a camera on during the call, as you should)
If you need to stop the speaker, put your hand up in the universal ‘Stop’ signal (open palm, fingers together, and pointed upward). Let your guest know why you halted the dialogue.
After you have cleared the way to continue, give your guests at LEAST 8 seconds to collect themselves. 8 seconds may seem like an eternity, but it will provide them with an opportunity to get their thoughts back on track.
Never Pause the Recording
Speaking of how to handle the unexpected - don’t hit the pause button!
It may be tempting to stop that audio track, but keep the tape rolling, whether it be a barking dog or a hiccup in the conversation!
It’s easier to smooth out bumps in one continuous track than to work around clipped audio.
And God forbid you ever forget to hit play again after the fact!
Don’t. Hit. Pause. While. Recording.
B2B podcasts shouldn’t be a stuffy affair.
Enjoy living in the moment of creating something special!
Get your guests hyped as you kick off your conversation. Let them know how excited you are to have them on your show, both before and during your session!
Some people don’t find it easy to put their emotions on display, so you may have to prompt your counterparts to show a little enthusiasm after introducing them. That’s okay!
Give your listeners a reason to become emotionally invested; otherwise, they’ll be using your show to help them fall asleep.
And That’s a Wrap!
Life has a way of throwing your script out the window.
But by following these simple steps, you can make some simple course corrections to get your recording session back on track.
Your show should be a labor of love, not futility.
Have fun - and don’t forget to push record!