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How To Conduct Interviews That People Want To Listen To

It’s a good thing that blogs and websites have the freedom to publish any information they like because readers has a smorgashboard of content to choose.

At the same time, if your content isn’t tightly planned out or executed (or just plain funny enough), you could find yourself creating a bunch of content that no one wants to read. I experienced this in my early days and it’s certainly not a fun experience.

If you’re planning to interview experts for a podcast, a product like a book or course, or to provide entertainment, here are a couple of tips to help you up your game:

  • Do your homework

Research your subject – their company AND their personal background. Having an insight into what the interviewee used to do and what they’re doing now can give you idea of how to structure the interview.

A good way to start is to google your interviewee’s name and company, or check Google News or Technorati or Techmeme.

Compiling the facts into a spreadsheet or text document and organizing it will help you with the next step:

  • Have a gameplan

While I enjoy the stream-of-consciousness element of some interviews, it can get old especially after a month or two of “more of the same”.

Like any written piece, an interview or discussion should have an introduction, a body where content is developed, and a conclusion.

If you incorporate “takeaways” into your session, or have tips or resources that listeners can immediately check out after the session, you’ll provide value, build content stickiness and form a core of loyal listeners/viewers.

Structuring the discussion by various interview topics will help create a more organized discussion, especially if you can spend time to address questions related to a specific topic before moving on.

  • Go with the flow and go deep

Although you have a gameplan in hand, use it as a rough guide. As interesting points develop, go deep on those topics – talking about case studies, specific examples, clarify definitions – to generate content depth.

As you talk about certain issues, parallel issues might also pop up, giving you an opportunity to “lateralize” your content. Heading in those directions, expands the scope of the discussion and provides an opportunity to create value.

Continually asking ‘what is the consequence of what the person just said, and how can I apply or use this information?” is a good metric to ensure that you remain on-topic.


For past sessions of the Friday Podcast, check out the podcast archive.

2 comments on How To Conduct Interviews That People Want To Listen To

  1. Debby Phillips
    June 6, 2008 at 3:43 am (4530 days ago)


    It is ironic that I read this email after the interview this morning. When you and Mike hung up, the first words out of my mouth was, “He did his homework!” You practice what you preach! HA! Thanks again!


  2. George Kuhn
    December 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm (1425 days ago)

    Great tips here. One simple ask I’ve found interviewees are more than receptive to is mentioning the interview will be digitally recorded strictly for note-taking purposes. Most agree to it and it allows you to be a true active listener and hold a conversation without having to worry to scribble down each and every note.

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