By Catharine Bramkamp (@cbramkamp)
You’ve experienced dead space on the air. You ask a question and your guest pauses, for a very long excruciating minute. Don’t just cue the cricket soundtrack. Be prepared for those dips and silences in the conversation. You can edit them out post production, or you can implement a couple of tools to guarantee a smooth broadcast. Here’s how to help your guest help you.
Rule #1: Avoid the obvious
I have walked out of author interviews. Not because the author wasn’t marvelous; often she was. What drives me screaming from the room are lame questions. At a recent book signing, Natalie Goldberg (nataliegoldberg.com) prefaced her question and answer period with the plea, “And don’t ask me what color pen I use to write.”
I know why Goldberg is asked about her pen: We think there must be some kind of magic to good writing, and if using a green flair tip pen will magically guarantee publication ,heck, yes, we will order a case of pens right now.
Don’t ask an author about a magic pen. Ask, “Where do you find the magic?” Don’t ask a guest where he gets ideas; ask about his larceny record – artists steal. A good question is “Where did you find your inspiration or from whom?” Don’t ask how she was published; you’ll get a lame answer that includes the phrase “I was really lucky.” Instead ask if publication made her younger and/or thinner.
Review your guest’s web site, read their book, and, from that information, find details that intrigue you. Go deep.
Rule #2: Set up your guest to win
Craft a welcome letter to send to every guest. We send our guests a list of instructions as well as the technical requirements necessary to appearing on the show.
Here’s an example of the greeting:
Thank you for agreeing to be a guest on our pod cast—Newbie Writer’s Podcast.(www.NewbieWriters.com). You can hear the podcast on our site—NewbieWriters.com or on iTunes.
The show is fun, loose and unpredictable. Damien is the Newbie, and I’m the writer. We create conversations with our guests for the first 40 minutes focusing on what a newbie writer should know, what will help a writer and, of course, what advice you specifically want to give writers. We finish the show with the regular features of writing prompt, word of the week and tortured sentences.
Charles McFall of Success Freaks (http://www.successfreaks.com/) liked the invitation so much he stole it for his own show. You are welcome to steal it for yours.
Guests are wonderful, and I love that our podcast gives me the opportunity to learn more about my favorite subject. Let your passion lead you to new and interesting people. Learn from them. A good guest on a podcast can benefit you, your guest and your listeners. In a new media world, we can create true win/win/win scenarios.
How great is that?
About the Author
Catharine Bramkamp is the co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast that focuses on newer writers and their concerns. She is a successful writing coach and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, Future Girls (Eternal Press) and the poetry chapbook Ammonia Sunrise (Finishing Line Press). She holds two degrees in English, and is an adjunct professor of writing for two Universities. Check out the free book offers this May – http://www.yourbookstartshere.com