July 2, 2007

Prepare your guests

If you offer a teleseminar or radio show where you bring on guests, I have a suggestion for you: give your guest the questions beforehand.

I participated in a teleseminar last week with a best-selling author. The host of the teleseminar had solicited questions from the attendees before the call, so she had a list to work from.

It was clear, though, that the guest had not been given the questions in advance. I'm not saying that the host intentionally withheld the questions. It's possible that the guest didn't have time to read them or didn't want them.

However, there were a couple of times on the call where the author was caught off guard by questions and seemed to be put on the spot. Also, he went off on lengthy tangents a few times; had he read the questions in advance, the interview might have proceeded more smoothly and with more focus.

When I'm going to be interviewed, I always request the questions in advance. This isn't to say that the interview or seminar might go off in different directions than originally intended, but it's best to start out with a structure and then decide to go off from it, than not to have a structure at all.

It's one of those "behind-the-scenes" interviewing tricks that makes things easier for both the host and the guest.

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

fetosoap said...

Has anyone ever refused to give you the questions beforehand?

I have a podcast interview coming up next week and I'm glad she emailed the questions to me in advance. I'm going to take some time to write out the answers and maybe practice with a friend.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

No one has refused to send me questions, but of course the reporter/interviewer can always reserve that right!

Knowing the questions in advance can be helpful, but it's best to be prepared for other questions and topics, because the question list is often just a jumping-off point.

Good luck with the podcast!

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