One of the best and easiest ways to get known is to establish personal connections with other entrepreneurs. And the way to do that is interview already established and up-and-coming business owners.
I bet you’ve seen people organising summits, running their own video shows or podcasts based on interviews. In fact, I bet that you can name at least three from the top of your head right now.
If you can, you’ve probably at some point considered interviewing those brilliant minds yourself but don’t know where to start or are simply scared of making a fool of yourself.
I started doing interviews right from the beginning of my business and have been interviewed myself a number of times. I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned; how to make sure that your rock those interviews and become an awesome host to your own gig.
1. Don’t be afraid to invite anyone you want to interview. You’ll be surprised at how friendly and accommodating people are. Already established entrepreneurs love giving back and will support a rising star, so just go and ask for that interview.
Having said that, if you’re still not very comfortable with interviewing yet, you might want to start with new people in the industry and have a few gos at practicing your skills and discovering your style before you start working with celebrities in your industry.
2. Don’t be afraid to fail. You will not. Think of the interview as a friendly chat that you’re having with a mate over a cup of tea. If your dog runs into the room and starts barking or your cat starts scratching the door, let it be, it’s life.
However, do consider things that might be disturbing during the interview and try to eliminate them or at least minimise the impact of their disturbance.
3. Dressed for success. Dress as if you’re going to meet your guest in person. If it makes you feel better, wear shoes and accessorize even if no-one will see it. Make sure that you are comfy in your own skin, your clothes fit well and you have a gorgeous smile on! Have a glass water or hot drink if you need it; it’s ok to have a nice looking mug in the shot.
4. Audio/video/recording equipment. Who cares! If you are just starting up just make sure you have a camera and a mic, anything will do really. I started off with using my laptop’s own camera (still do by the way) and normal headphones from my mobile phone.
I must say that as I have progressed and started recording interviews for the summit and now for my podcast, I invested in a nice mic, but that’s about as fancy as I get.
- Choosing recording software is not difficult, research for the software that operates with your computer. Nothing expensive you can easily get a great one between $15 and $100 depending on your computer.
- I use Skype to contact all my interviewees, if you want to use Skype too, do make sure that you test your recording software a few times before going for the real interview. Test both recording and editing, some recordings loose the quality after they’ve been edited and saved.
- G+ Hangout is another great option especially if you don’t have or don’t know how to use recording/editing software.
5. Etiquette. There’s no such thing really but as in any industry an unspoken etiquette exists during interviews too.
- Make sure your know your guest, do your research, it’s very embarrassing when the show host can’t introduce their guest properly and asks them what they do during the show.
- Establish a friendly connection with your guest before the you press the ‘record’ button.
- Thank them for taking time to be on your show, tell them how well they look, make small talk about whether, kids, pets etc. This will allow both parties to relax and you could also test your equipment then.
6. Questions. This is probably the most asked question, do I prepare the questions in advance or do I just go with the flow?
It’s up to you really.
I personally have an impromptu style, I know who my guest is and why I invited them and why I want to interview them so my questions tend to flow naturally.
However, I find that half of the people I interview want to know what I’m going to ask them and that’s also fine (don’t forget that the persona on the other side might also be nervous).
I tell them that I don’t usually prepare questions in advance but the areas that I’d like to cover with them will be ABC.
If they resist and still wants questions, that always makes me suspicious as to how much of expertise they actually have in their area.
It’s totally your choice what you want to do here.
7. Follow up. Don’t forget to follow up after the interview and thank them yet again for coming on the show. Every guest you have is a super valuable asset to the success of your show/summit/site. If you feel you want to interview them again, go for it.
So when are going to do your first interview even if it’s only for your blog?