I’ve done 100 Podcasts — This is My Secret to a Great Interview
I started my first podcast in 2016 interviewing creators. Since then, I created a leader interview podcast. I also host an interview series with authors. Over the past six years, I’ve interviewed over 100 folks. Someone once asked how to create a great interview.
Here’s my secret.
Create psychological safety.
This might be surprising. Maybe you thought I’d say formulating the right questions. Listen, I love a good question. I was the kid who asked them all day, every day. Why was broccoli green? What happens when we die? Why do people get angry? Why do people lie?
An inherently curious person, I never stopped asking. I even became a leadership coach, a role where it’s a critical skill. A well-formed question can elicit so much information. That is to say, I LOVE questions.
Yes, great questions can create an interesting conversation. And, the environment you create for your guest is far more important than crafting the perfect inquiry. When people feel safe they can be their best selves and we get the best out of them. Feeling safe allows us to go beneath the surface, and talk about the hard stuff, the deep things we long to discuss. We stop performing for others. We stop trying to perfect.
Trust makes room for real conversations. A safe space where people can be themselves is the foundation of great collaboration.
Psychological safety is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
I see my podcast as a collaboration between myself and another. So when I interview someone, my goal is to make them feel comfortable.
How I create psychological safety
Tell them what to expect. To ease anxiety, I send an email with details before we talk. The first email outlines the mission of the series and its ethos. I also include examples of past interviews so they get a sense of the tone and the kind of interview experience it will be. I tell them how long it will take, where it will be shared, the format, and my conversational style. I outline the post-production process including that I won’t…