How to be an effective podcast guest

SOLID GOLD PODCASTS #BEHEARD  |  Podcast , ±3 min episodes every 15 weeks, 6 days  | 
Welcome to Solid Gold Podcasts and audiobooks.

To help you be a more effective podcast guest, and to ensure you get your story heard, we're sharing these basic hints, tips and guidelines. If you're going to be doing this more often in future, then drop us a mail to find out more about our Podcast Guest or Host Master Classes.


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Hosts (updated) with Ian F

Not all hosts are created equal and the range of skills you encounter may range from unskilled hobbyist, through adequate interviewer to seasoned pro.

#01 Welcome

Hello, I’m Gavin Kennedy, founder and CEO of Solid Gold Studios. You’re likely listening to this podcast because you’ve been invited to be a guest on one of the channels we produce. Congratulations! And welcome to the exciting world of podcasting.

Our vision is to be the podcast partner of choice and our mission is to help people, like you, and the organisations you represent, to be heard, through quality, creative storytelling.

Whether this is your first time on air, or if you’re a regular guest, we want to help you deliver your message effectively. Over the next few minutes, Melanie will guide you through our Podcast Guest 101 introduction, an executive summary if you like, of essential tips and skills that will assist you during your interview.

Remember, this is not a live broadcast and the conversation will be edited. Also, please ensure you have completed our media usage agreement before your recording. The link to the online form is on our website and in the show notes of this episode.

Thank you for joining u s today and for taking the time to share your story. If there’s anything you think we could be doing better, please send me a mail on

Enjoy your recording.

And now, over to Melanie...

Welcome to Solid Gold podcast studios. Before we go through to one the studios for your interview, here are a few tips to help you settle in and acclimatise to the studio, the equipment, the recording environment and the people so that you will be a great guest.

Once you have finished listening to Podcast Guest 101, we will take you through to your studio and get you settled. The purpose of this exercise is to help you become a refined, aware and effective guest on your next broadcast interview.

What you are about to experience is a short-cut to being a guest on almost any broadcasting platform. After today’s interview, and especially if you intend being a guest on many more podcasts, you may want to sign up for our more detailed and int
Start a WhatsApp chat with us

#02 Getting Settled

What we’re covering today applies to more than just podcasts and can (and should) be used for television and radio interviews as the principles remain the same. There is no difference between live or recorded podcasts, radio and television programs.

Have you ever arrived at a studio for an interview not knowing what to do? Where to go? And how to approach the recording? Do you get nervous that you don’t really know how to use the equipment such as headphones, foldback levels or microphone technique? Do you dislike looking like an amateur guest?

Let’s help you get to know the gear so you can let the host know that you are a professional and they need not treat you like it’s your first time in a recording.

Technically, the most important piece of equipment is the microphone. So using this correctly is really important. If your host is not professional enough to understand microphone technique, you will be able to guide them while at the same time letting them know that you are comfortable in the studio with whatever you need to use. There are many different types of microphones that are used in different studios around the world. It would help immensely if you could identify and adapt to the type you will be using.

You don’t need to know the make or specifications, but as you do a voice level test you will be able to hear whether you are too close or too far from the microphone. Also, you will be able to identify which part of the microphone has the best sound response. Some microphones record sound from 360 degrees, some from the top and some have a live 90 degree input which means a smaller area to talk into.

You'll be handed a set of headphones as you enter the studio. At Solid Gold Studios, all headsets are cleaned and tested after every use. You will be shown where to plug them in, how to adjust your volume and how to make them as comfortable as possible. Too loud and you’ll have distortion, too soft and you won’t be able to concentrate on the interview, s

#03 Do's and Don'ts

The most important rule in any recording studio is to regard the microphones as “live” at all times. If you don’t want something recorded, don’t say it.

Do not enter any studio without permission and invitation from the host or their technical team. Many studios have a red light at the door indicating that a recording is in progress. Wait for a green light to show that the recording has either stopped or is paused, and confirm we’re OK to enter. Enter the studio cautiously and don’t say anything until you have established that the studio is not live.When in doubt, remember rule #1 and regard the microphones as live.

If at any stage during a recording, you are uncomfortable with the situation or your speech, or if you are aware that there is a technical glitch such as a drop in your voice level, stop the recording. Some hosts may not notice your discomfort of the faults so it’s really useful for you to stay aware.

Don’t chase the microphone, sit comfortably and relax, the the studio team will move the microphone to where you are. Remember, moving affects sound level and we want you to sound your best, so work on staying a constant distance from the mic.

After you've been talking for a while and have developed a bit of rapport with your host, it's quite natural for the microphone to start feeling like an obstacle and you may find you start to talk around it, or in extreme cases, you might even be tempted to push it out of the way. Please don't. Always stay close to the mic and talk through it to your host and other guests.

Pops and click noises usually indicate your mouth is a little dry. This is common, especially your first few times in the studio. We’ll provide you with a bottle of still water, and if you want more, just indicate this to your host.

Please remove the lid from your water before you start so you’re not distracted by it later, and so you avoid making additional noise when opening during the interview. When you need a sip, simply move away from th

#04 Hosts

Not all hosts are created equal and the range of skills you encounter may range from unskilled hobbyist, through adequate interviewer to seasoned pro.

Let’s talk about three main types, “aggressive”, “bad” and then “good” hosts so you’ll know how to deal with them.

Aggressive hosts are the most frustrating to deal with. They mostly like to hear their own voice and believe that they know your product or message better than you do. With these hosts, you need to use your knowledge to move from their ”self-indulgent babble” and back to your message. At this stage you will already know how to handle the studio environment and the equipment.

A bad host will have done no homework on your product or message, and will try and sound competent to hide that fact. This is the worst-case scenario as he won’t be able to lead you to what’s important to your expertise. You may have to take over a certain amount of control on the program.

An average host will sometimes allow you the time to get your message across but may interrupt you to make a point – sometimes relevant and sometimes merely an irritant. They will also try and help you by prompting when there is no need. If you need to interrupt or talk over the host, remember, it’s your message so don’t be afraid to be firm and push the information. Do not allow the host to bombard you with questions and expect you to answer in the order they deliver. Answer one question at a time, and take your time. There is no rush.

A good host or interviewer will be there to help you through the process. They will understand the technical aspects of the studio and be able to put you at ease and settle any nerves you may have. They will know that their role is not to talk incessantly nor over your speech. A good host will prompt you and guide you through the topic, always backing off to allow you to talk about whatever your expertise and message encompasses so you can get your message across. They will also give you the lion’s share of

#05 Types of Questions

A bad host will ask closed-ended questions that lead to conversational dead ends while a good host will set you up with open-ended questions that help the interview flow and your message to be heard.

Simply put, closed-ended questions are those which can be answered with a "yes" or "no," while open-ended questions require more thought and engaged answers.

That said, closed-ended questions do have their place in a good interview, usually when the host is trying to compare the answers of different guests or only have time for a quick response.

Closed-ended questions do not allow the respondent to explain that they do not understand the question or do not have an opinion on the issue. You can easily spot them as they usually start with verbs, such as “Are,” “Will,” “Is,” “Have,” “Did,” and even contractions such as “Aren't,” “Didn't,” and “Won't.” Closed-ended questions gradually bring conversation to a convergence on a single point or decision since it is answered with a “yes” or a “no.”

An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful, answer using the guest’s own, and often specialist, knowledge and feelings. The opposite of a closed-ended question, open-ended questions are usually identified by the five “W’s”. “What, Where, Who, When, Why.” You may also hear “How” as well as a multitude of similar words that cannot be answered with “yes or no.”

Open-ended questions allow guests to include more information, feelings, attitudes and understanding of the subject. Remember, you are here to tell your story and to be heard.

Find out more about Solid Gold Studios at

Please ensure you complete the Media Usage Agreement before your recording.
The link is

#06 Deliver Your Message

In order to effectively deliver your message, start by ensuring the chair is comfortable and you can sit easily with the microphone close to your mouth. Set your headphones to the right level and keep your surroundings non -threatening.

You may see other people in the studio that you would prefer were not present, so if they annoy you, ask them to leave. However, be aware that it may be a sound controller attending to the technical side of the recording who cannot leave.

You will find pens and notepads in the studio. You should use these to make notes of discussion points that arise during your interview, or to remind yourself of key points you want to reinforce.

The best advice we can give is be yourself. Do not try and be a “wannabe” talk show host or presenter, you can focus on those skills if, or when, you decide to host your own podcast. The closer you can remain to talking in your regular voice, the better it sounds on air. Try not to force your voice, rather project at a decent level. Relax as much possible. Take your time to get the voice levels correct. Take your time and pace yourself. This is not a competition between you and the host, focus on telling your story effectively.

Find out more about Solid Gold Studios at

#07 Recording

During a recording, silence is better than uuumms, eerrrss and aaahss. Often when people think of what next to say next, they start a sentence with um or aah, and then say their piece. Rather breathe, pause, and concentrate on saying the first word of each sentence without a throw-away sound. Take your time before starting a sentence. During editing, silence is easier to remove that trying to remove noises that don’t add any value and may contribute to you sounding less knowledgeable than you really are.

Always be very clear about the core message you are here to deliver.
Stay on topic and, if necessary, repeat your main point.

Sometimes you can use part of the host’s questions as an invitation to deliver your main message. We’re not going to go into this right now, and you should be cautious about doing this. For now, remember that if you go astray, come back to your main point. If you decide to join us on our Podcast Guest Master Class we’ll spend more time on this very useful skill.

If you need to cough, sneeze, or remove a “frog”, ask the host to stop for a moment until you are once again ready to record. Do not clear your throat while recording. Rather stop the recording until you are ready to continue. Don’t be afraid to talk to the host at any time that suits you. Our podcasts are not live and will always be edited so you can stop at any stage to maybe think about an answer to a particular question, or even if you need a break.

Avoid repetition. And avoid using clichés. They tend to patronise or annoy people, or worse, create an impression of laziness and lack of careful thought on your behalf. Common clichés to look out for and avoid include:

Only time will tell
As old as the hills
A diamond in the rough
What goes around comes around
At the end of the day
In terms of
Low hanging fruit
Of course; and
When all is said and done

Listen to yourself over the coming days and see if you can spot any that you may use without having

#08 That's a Wrap

Congratulations on completing the express version of “Podcast Guest 101”

Although we’ve only just scratched the surface of how to be a great guest, you’ll find these tips useful for any broadcasting situation you find yourself in in future. We recommend that you listen to them again a few more times (especially just before an interview) as they’ll make more sense after you’ve been through a few interviews.

If you’re going to be a regular podcast guest (and the explosive growth in this arena suggests that’s highly likely), we invite you to join us for our Podcast Guest Master Class where you’ll get intensive hands-on, professional training in a studio.

In the Master Class you’ll learn

What a Podcast really is
Comparisons between podcasts, television, radio and alternative broadcast media
Knowing your market
Time constraints
The power of commercials within the podcast
Studio booking and time management
How to work with a host that you are comfortable with
Studio etiquette
RAG lights
Multiple guest interviews
Multiple host interviews
Skype interviews
Telephone interviews
Panic on air
Advanced microphone and headphone techniques

If these sound like enhanced skills that would serve you, book your space on our next Podcast Guest Master Class, by sending a mail to

For now though, you’re ready to head through to the studio for your interview.


Enjoy yourself in the interview!

And focus on telling your story so that you can #BeHeard.

Bye for now.

Find out more about Solid Gold Studios at

11 episodes