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Interviewee’s 101: Mastering Live Interviews and Podcasts

In today’s media landscape, live interviews and podcasts have become powerful tools for making your mark. Whether you’re shaping your personal brand or propelling your business forward, both offer a direct pathway to connect with your audience.

Each of the two formats has its own unique benefits and contexts. With their immediacy and interaction, live interviews are perfect for discussions and breaking news. Podcasts, in their turn, offer flexibility and depth, which is great for storytelling and in-depth conversations.

However, stepping into the spotlight can come with its own set of challenges. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essentials of preparing for live interviews and podcasts, ensuring that you shine with confidence and authenticity.

Before the Talk

Step 1: Crafting Your Message

Understanding your audience and the purpose of your appearance is key to a successful interview. The main questions to ask yourself are, who are you addressing, and what message are you aiming to deliver?

Second, your key takeaways and talking points should harmonize with your personal image and brand identity. Weaving these into a coherent narrative ensures your message resonates deeply.

Step 2: Getting to Know Your Host

Researching your host beforehand can help you align your approach for a seamless interaction. Check out their previous talks for a dive into their unique style.

Before the spotlight turns on, a preliminary chat with your host can provide a shared roadmap. For best results, you could discuss the questions to anticipate, identify the key points to delve into, and outline any off-limit topics.

Step 3: Preparation and Appearance

Think ahead by preparing for questions that might arise, so you can respond with confidence. As we’ve already mentioned above, your body language and appearance should reflect your message and your brand.

Tip: even if it’s not a video interview, wear something you feel comfortable in!

Step 4: Nailing the Technical Details

If you are being interviewed online, check if your equipment is in order. Ideally, do that at least a day before the interview, so should something malfunction, you have time to replace it.

Right before the showtime, make sure that all settings are correct and that the sound and the video quality are on point. A stable internet connection guarantees your message reaches the audience uninterrupted.

In the Spotlight

Step 5: Connect and Engage

Be right there: actively listen to the host’s questions and connect with them rather than thinking of the next thing to say.

As you answer, express yourself clearly. Support your response with relevant examples or anecdotes that illustrate your point to engage the listeners.

Step 6: Handling the Nerves

We understand that nerves might kick in, so here are a few tips to help you stay composed and focused.

  • Prepare thoroughly: the more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel. Research the topic, anticipate questions, and rehearse your key messages and talking points.
  • Arrive early: reach the interview location or set up for the podcast early to settle in, acclimate to the surroundings, and prepare mentally.
  • Breathe and move: deep breathing or a short physical warm-up will help you de-stress
  • Normalize being nervous: it’s common even among seasoned professionals (Sharing how you feel with your host before the show helps greatly, too!)
  • Choose water over caffeine: it will help you stay hydrated without making you even more jittery
  • Focus on the message: shift your focus from your nerves to the message you want to convey and connecting with the host and your audience.
  • Carry on: you’ll feel way calmer after a question or two!
Step 7: Tackling Tough Questions

Anticipate potential tough questions and practice your responses. Confidence, a positive attitude, and effective communication will help you navigate tricky waters while maintaining your credibility and authority.

Here are a few tips to follow when you encounter an unexpected or tough question:

  • Acknowledge the question, and take a short pause: it will help you gather your thoughts and frame your response more effectively
  • Stay concise, and address the matter directly
  • Stay positive, calm, and composed; try not to defend yourself or confront the host: it’s not a personal attack, but rather an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and confidence
  • Pivot towards the positive actions you’ve taken or lessons learned
  • If you’re unsure about the answer, express your willingness to learn more and provide a more detailed response later
  • When you’ve addressed the question, transition smoothly to your key messages or the topic you’re comfortable discussing.
Beyond the Interview
Step 8: Get Social

After your appearance, a few steps keep the momentum alive. First, thank your host: now you’re connected, and they are a part of your extended network. Keep that connection alive!

And second, extend your reach by promoting your interview across social media and other channels. Engaging with audience feedback fosters connection and adds to the impact.


As you prepare for a live interview or podcast, remember that it’s an opportunity for growth and connection. Each step we’ve shared equips you to embrace the experience with confidence. Good luck with your talk!

If you need expert guidance along the way, reach out to Input PR at liza@inputpr.com. Our team specializes in media relations and personal branding, ensuring that your message leaves a lasting impression.

Additional Resources

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