How to prep your guest before you hit record

In this episode, I'll be talking about how to prepare your guests before you hit record.

Step one

Brief your guests in advance. Send them an email with clear technical instructions for joining the podcast recording. It's recommended to create a template that you can easily copy and paste to all guests. This saves you time and ensures consistency. You can also include the questions and talking points ahead of the recording, but let them know that writing out the answers word for word may sound unnatural. Bullet points work well to guide them, and also mention the desired tone of the podcast. Is it formal? Is it casual? Can they use profanity? Additionally, communicate the expected duration of the recording and whether the podcast will be edited or unedited. 

Below are the technical instructions I share with guests for using Riverside - feel free to copy and paste them into your own emails. I’d recommend including a line about using bullet points if they want to make notes, rather than writing out their answers word-for-word:

  • We record using a podcast recording platform called Riverside. This works in a similar way to Zoom or Teams. You don't need to download anything.
  • Riverside will only work when you open it using Google Chrome or Edge as your browser.
  • It won't work if you're using a VPN.
  • Please join the recording from a quiet room with no air con and one that doesn't have bare floors/walls (as these echo). Bedrooms with carpets are best. Meeting rooms are usually terrible.
  • Please wear plug-in headphones
  • Please make sure you have your mobile phone to hand with the voice recorder downloaded and ready to go. This will act as a backup recording of your part of the conversation.

Step two

Conduct a short technical check with your guests before the recording. This check only needs to take about five minutes but it will help identify any technical issues ahead of time. Guests can adjust their surroundings, ensure they have their headphones ready, and address any other potential problems. It also gives you an opportunity to gauge their confidence level and identify any interesting topics for discussion.

Step three

Create a comfortable environment for your guests. When it's time to hit record, you want your guests to feel at ease. Start by making some small talk to help them relax. Ask about their day, what they had for breakfast or lunch, their location, or the weather. Find common ground that can be work-related or personal, such as their hobbies, pets, children, or upcoming vacation plans. These icebreaker topics work really well. If your guests seem nervous, you can run through the questions beforehand to ensure they are comfortable with them. Also, inquire if they have any questions of their own.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your guests are well-prepared and comfortable before recording, leading to a more engaging and successful podcast episode.

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