Whether you’ve done a million interviews or you’re gearing up for your first podcast guest, interviews can be scary. If you want to feel confident and prepared for your next summit or podcast interviews, then get ready because this session is going to give you the strategies you need to host exceptional podcast and summit interviews. You’re learning from Laura Kebart, a copywriter who took her experience in growing a multi-six figure business to help other entrepreneurs build their own successful businesses. Let’s dive in!
Laura Kebart: Yeah, so much for having me, Jenn. I’m excited to dive into this topic and let’s provide some value and get people some action steps here!
Jenn: Perfect. So before we dive into all the details of how to host exceptional interviews, can you give us kind of a quick overview of your take on what makes an exceptional interview?
Laura Kebart: Definitely. So what makes an exceptional interview actually begins before the interview process. It’s all about… first of all, as the host, right -whether it’s a podcast host, whether it’s a summit host – it’s really about going back to your audience. Like, who am I creating this event for? Who am I creating this episode for? What do they need, again? What are they struggling with? That’s a question to ask yourself every month, really, because what your audience is struggling with in January is not what they’re struggling with in July.
So just having, going back and revisiting, what are people struggling with right now? What are people talking about right now? What are their pain points right now? That way, when you dive into your podcast episode, when you dive into the interview for your summit, all of that is fresh on your mind.
The second thing to really help create a fantastic interview experience is now let’s think about the person you’re interviewing. So whether it’s a podcast, whether it’s a summit, what can I do as a host to make that person on the other end feel really comfortable? And I know I learned that not, not really the hard way, but it’s just a different perspective. The very first time I ever hosted my own summit. So nervous, right? All the things. And the first guest who booked a time with me was a fairly well-known author. And I thought, okay. And I invited him – it was a whole thing – I’m going to invite this person, he’ll probably say no, but I’m just going to go for it, do it anyway. Well, he said yes, and of course he picked the first open slot on my calendar, so I didn’t have anyone else to practice with. I didn’t… I was, I was sweating. I was so nervous.
And when I went back and looked at the video, you couldn’t tell I was nervous, but you know what? He told me after the interview, he said, “Oh, that was a really great experience. I was nervous.” I thought, “you were nervous?! Oh!” Like, it was a whole change in perspective: the person on the other end gets nervous? But I’m the one who’s supposed to be nervous. I’m a nobody interviewing this person. I was nervous.
So I think just thinking ahead, like what can I do to set up a comfortable situation for the person on the other end? So it’s really about your audience and it’s about thinking ahead of time, how you can help your guests feel comfortable as well.
Jenn: Perfect. I love coming at it from both perspectives because I know as podcasters, a lot of us also go on as guests, and so if you can take both of those and put them together, that helps a lot with the mindset at least.
So, alright, so let’s go ahead now and dive into all the good stuff. So to get things started, what are a couple of ways that a podcaster or summit host can introduce their guests that gets the conversation flowing naturally?
Laura Kebart: So one of my favorite things to do is write when I’m introducing someone, I like to talk about how we know each other. Like, here’s how we know each other, just to tell the audience and just to kind of start the conversation going between myself and the person I’m interviewing like, “Oh yeah, this is how we know each other. This is where we met online. This is what we’ve worked on together before, or yeah. This is the conversation we had when we first met.”
And then it becomes kind of this very natural, like, “Oh yeah, I did say that to you. Oh yeah, I did reach out to you on Instagram first. Oh, I thought it was a DM…” and it just starts this very natural flow of like how we came to know each other. So I love to do that and I think… I think the audience and I think listeners like to hear that too, because it’s just, “Oh yeah, like, we bumped into each other at the store. Oh yeah, we know each other through this mutual…” like, it’s just very, it’s real. It’s just very real. So I like to introduce the person with that personal connection first.
And then from there, like say, well, you know what, why don’t you take it from here? Tell us about what you’re doing in your business right now. What you’re doing in your business right now? Not “oh, okay, this is you, this is who you are. This is what you’re doing,” because sometimes people shift and pivot in their business or sometimes they’ve got a book coming out or sometimes they’ve got… you know, they’ve had like, a website, like, they’re relaunching their business, or they’ve got something they’re excited about and it gives them a chance to talk about that. So, I really like to kind of put the ball in their court so that they can give us the absolute, most updated version of what’s happening in their business, rather than me saying, “you’re the host of this and you’re the CEO of that,” it’s like, no, I want to hear it from you.
Jenn: Yeah. I love that. And it gives that personal connection too. Like it’s… it makes them and you more human because it’s a conversation, not just like question, answer, question, answer, ’cause that’s boring.
Laura Kebart: ‘Cause that doesn’t feel natural either.
Jenn: Yeah, but interviews do still need questions, so I know that coming up with those questions for an interview so that the conversation flows smoothly can be one of the most intimidating aspects of doing interviews…
Laura Kebart: Right? It’s like, what if I run out of questions? What if I interview someone who gives yes and no answers, it’s like pulling teeth, like all those fears.
Jenn: Yeah. So what would you suggest that a podcaster/summit host do to come up with those questions so they can kind of keep things flowing?
Laura Kebart: Okay. So, um, I, you know, in the summits that I’ve hosted in the different things that I’ve done too, I’ve had a lot of fun with just kind of coming up with my own questions based on curiosity, like… like, almost like dream questions. Like, I would love to ask these personal questions. I won’t ask all of them, right? But I like to have kind of a bank. And then, wow, goodness. I would love to ask about how they got started in their business. I would love to know what, like what they would do if they had to start over tomorrow. Like, I just get really, really curious.
And so I have kind of a bank of personal questions I can pull from. I have a bank of very, like, business-related questions I can pull from. I have a bank of questions around advice. Like if you could give… it goes deeper than just, “if you could go back 10 years and tell yourself…” you know, it goes deeper than that, but just, I just have kind of these different categories of questions that I like to skim through right before going into an interview, just so that I’m mentally ready. Now, I’m not going to sit there and shuffle through papers: “hang on, I’m looking for a really good question. Let me open up this Google doc and check. Hold on.” You know, it’s not like that. It’s just… it keeps it top of mind so that I’m always ready with a curiosity induced question and when you’re really listening to someone explain an answer to your question, when you get really curious, that’s where so much of the natural part comes in with, with a really good interview.
And when you know what your audience is struggling with right now, it’s like, “Oh, I bet my audience would love to know more about XYZ.” And then you can ask. It’s like, you almost forget you’re being interviewed or you forget you’re doing the interview.
Jenn: Yeah, that was actually, I was going to ask about that because I know a lot of the time we know things that our audience doesn’t, and so we forget to think about, well, what are they asking? Like, do you have any tips to help us kind of work through what the audience might be asking that we might forget about?
Laura Kebart: Yes. So one way that I like to build buzz around an upcoming podcast episode or an upcoming, you know, summit is I like to kind of tease my own audience. Like, “Hey, I’ve got this speaker on my calendar for next week. We’re going to be diving into this topic. Drop your questions below so I can ask them for you.”
And I’ve gotten really good results with that, like, questions I wouldn’t even have necessarily come up with. And so that’s a really fun way to involve your audience in what’s happening in your business. It’s a great way to build buzz for whatever that, you know, for the podcast release, for the summit release, but then you’re bringing authentic questions to the person you’re interviewing. It’s like, you’re saying, “Hey, like, I’ve been so excited about this interview coming up. In fact, I hope you don’t mind, but I kinda polled my audience and here’s one of the main questions that kept coming up over and over. I’m gonna go ahead and ask you.”
And so it also brings this element of reality into your interview. I mean, everything is so digital now, right? And we want to bring in kind of that real life experience. That’s a great way to do it. Ask your audience, tell them ahead of time, “Hey, I’m super excited about interviewing this person. Here’s the topic. Give me your best, like, what are you dying to know right now?”
And it’s funny, you’ll start to see some of the same questions pop up again. And again, you’re like, I’m definitely asking that question! So it’s not even about you necessarily coming up with all the questions you can ask your audience, and if you don’t have an audience, if you’re new, I mean, a summit is a great way to grow and build an audience, right?
If you don’t have one, go into other Facebook groups or Instagram or wherever your audience, you know, your ideal audience is online and just ask them there. Just ask. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Jenn: Yeah. And most Facebook group posts and everybody, like, they want comments going, so it benefits everybody.
Laura Kebart: Yeah, for sure.
Jenn: Yeah. So as those questions are coming up and everything’s rolling and flowing smoothly, I know we’ve all seen those interviews where the conversation clearly gets away from the host and sometimes that’s good. So, when would you say that it’s okay to kind of stray a little bit from your planned conversation and all the questions that you may have already come up with and how can the host also bring the conversation back around when it is time for that?
Laura Kebart: Yeah, that definitely happens. And there have been times where I’ve found myself in an interview and I’m like, “Oh, the host is bringing me back. Oops. I did that.” Like, we’re all… it, it happens.
So first of all, it’s definitely okay to stray from a conversation when the topic goes in a direction that you know your audience will be dying to hear. Sometimes it takes a while to kind of warm up in an interview and once you really get the conversation going, you can get some really good nuggets of information that maybe you couldn’t possibly have planned for – things just start coming out. And so as the host of a podcast interview or of a summit interview, if you’re thinking, “Oh my audience… yeah, that’s exactly what my audience… oh, I heard them talk about that the other day, or I saw that come up the other day…” like, it’s about what your audience needs.
So head down that path. Totally fine. Totally fine. If it’s going in a direction that is starting to like, okay, we’re rambling, we’re going into a rabbit hole now that has nothing to do with this. It’s okay to say, “okay, let’s bring it back…” Literally, it’s okay to say smile and say, “wow. That’s… okay, that’s amazing. So how can we bring -” in fact, ask the person, “how can we bring that back to our topic at hand?”
Like if I started talking about my dog randomly right now, like, you could interrupt me and say, “Oh wow, Laura. Yeah, I love dogs too. So how can we bring that back to talking about an exceptional podcast interview?” Like, you’re not telling me like, “stop talking,” even though in your head, maybe you are, but you’re telling me like, “Hey, I love dogs too. How can we bring that back?” Like you’re putting the ball in my court and then it’s like, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Okay, so where I was going with this topic was…”
In other words, you’re asking me. Like, you don’t have to solve all the problems as the host. You can raise the problem in a nice way and then give it to the person you’re interviewing and say, how can we bring that back to our topic? That’s really helpful.
And then it, it puts that person back in charge like, Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Like I’m the guest here. And, and I am kind of in charge of making sure I’m answering the question the way that I should.
Jenn: Yeah. And it gives them a chance to showcase themselves too. So. Yeah, I love that. And that’s, that’s definitely something I haven’t really thought about before is like asking them, like, I’ve, I’ve had to go and reign in interviews in the past, but I’ve never actually asked them, so, “Hey, how can we get back on topic?” I love that. I’m gonna have to steal that.
Laura Kebart: Yeah, yeah. Steal it. Totally. And there are different ways to ask that question. I mean, like you could say, “Oh, you know what? That makes me so cur,,,” your dog, right? Like, we’re going to hang with the dog example here. “That story about your dog makes me really curious about [fill in the blank with the topic of the interview].”
Jenn: Yeah. Get creative with it. You could have a whole bank of back on topic questions.
So what is one specific action step that you would suggest a podcaster-turned-summit-host should take right away to start hosting even more exceptional interviews?
Laura Kebart: One step you can do right now, even if you’re like, “Oh, I’m not quite ready to host my summit. I’m not quite ready to launch my podcast or I’ve always done solo episodes. I’m not quite ready.” If you’re not quite ready, that is okay, right?
But what you can do right now is you can go ahead and start creating some relationships with people who you might want to bring onto your podcast or people you might want to bring onto your summit someday. Go ahead and start those now, because relationships that are genuinely built are going to be so much stronger and so much more authentic when you are ready for that event for yourself. So wherever, you know, people in similar spaces to you are hanging out online – whether it’s Instagram, whether it’s Facebook, whatever – go ahead and start building some relationships, start commenting on what they’re saying, right?
You could even DM them for nothing more than to say, “Hey, I’m in a similar space. It’s really interesting what you’re doing.” Like, just start a little relationship there. Very simple. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to immediately try to pull them into your summit or onto your podcast, but that’s something you can do right now.
You could set a timer for 10 minutes, three times a week, and just go into some Facebook groups or go into to, you know, start following some new people on Instagram – wherever it is that you hang out online – and just start, you know, commenting genuinely like really good quality comments, like, start that relationship for someday. It’s always good to start ahead of time. Just start for someday.
Jenn: Yeah. And especially because the more you know somebody, the more comfortable you’re both going to be with an interview. So that’s definitely a great action step.
So one last thing before we wrap up: do you have any resources that you want to share with everybody to kind of help us take this even further?
Laura Kebart: Yeah. So I have quite a few resources related to copywriting as far as being your own best expert copywriter for your business over at LauraKebartCopy.com, but specific to this topic right here, I do have a resource that is called 101 Delicious Podcast-Summit Interview Questions. And they’re there, it’s like this library of resources that I created and kind of organized, like I was talking about earlier in our interview where I said, yeah, I mean, I have like this bank of personal questions that are really fun to pull from, or, you know, I got this little bank of like business-related questions I love to ask people.
I’ve got these four categories, basically, based on like personal, business, making decisions, and then taking action. I have questions organized in those four categories. And so I organized them into this little bundle of 101 delicious interview topics perfect for podcasts and summits.
So that is what I am happy to give away here, and so you’ve got the link, so you can grab that resource. And of course the goal, you’re not going to ask your interviewee 101 questions, but it’s so helpful for you as a host if you want to have some creative questions that you can pull from here and there, it’s just a nice resource to have that you can go back to again and again. So yep. I’ve got that for everybody.
Jenn: Yeah, definitely make sure to grab that.
So thank you so much for being here, Laura, and sharing all of that awesome wisdom with us. And I’m just so glad to have had you on here.
Laura Kebart: Thanks so much, Jenn. It was a pleasure. It was a lot of fun. This felt so easy and fun!
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