This is where your people skills come into play. The thing with guests is: you’ve invited them onto your show because they are experts in some aspect of your niche.
That being the case, you need to have done some research. It is only common courtesy to respect the work your guest has already done.
Timings can be an issue, particularly if you and you guest are in different time zones. These can usually be worked around but as a rule of thumb, I adjust my time to meet the guest. There is very little point in having someone on your show who has less presence than you do. That’s why I adjust to their schedule.
With an expert, remember they have something to say. Have a list of questions but listen carefully to the answers you are receiving. A tangent is a thing to follow. If you’ve done your research properly, ask a question and let the guest go. They know their stuff and want to tell others. Don’t continually interrupt. Ask for clarification if jargon pops up but mostly let your guest have their head.
Now there may be times when you do have a guest on who has less reach than you do and that’s legitimate too. You might be doing a favour for a friend, you may have come across someone who’s message/story is so irresistible, your listeners would receive great value. And giving your listeners great value is the number one reason for producing a podcast.
When things go well, dealing with a guest is very straight forward. Make contact, book an interview, record the interview and let the guest know when their appearance will be published. This last step is really important. Your guest can then publicise that episode of your show through their networks. This a great way to build audience. It is ethical, it is cooperative and those are two good reasons to be a podcaster.
What to do with a prima donna? You need to make decisions. Is the grief from a difficult guest worth the material they provide? I’ve never had to deal with this sort of thing but my shows are not conflict based. I’ve heard episodes where the producer first declined to publish a conflictual interview but finally did so because the guest was tweeting quotes from the interview that were never uttered. It was really uncomfortable to listen to but it proved a point. Again, what is best for your listeners? I think if you follow that principle, you can’t go too far wrong.
The other reason to drop an interview is technical difficulties. I’ve had to do this just the once. A remote interview, an expert whom I respected and an interview with so much background noise, no tricks could make it audible. We’ve rescheduled but are yet to re-record. These things happen. Be honest with your guest, even send them a snippet of the audio so they can hear the issue.
- Guests are great, usually.
- Show courtesy.
- Allow them to speak.
- Why are you having this guest on your show?
- Be prepared to scrap an interview.