How To Be A Great Host: Your 10-Point Checklist for Hosting With Excellence
I am going to share how to become an excellent host – whether we are talking about hosting your own podcast – vlog – or perhaps you are creating content for your rockin’ awesome blog and you will be interviewing guest experts.
It takes hard work to become good at interviewing – to host and facilitate a conversation. For some – like it did for me – it takes many hours of practice and every day that I get behind the microphone and talk with a guest I am learning – so there is always room for improvement.
My hope is that the recipe I have included in this blog post will shorten the learning curve and accelerate your results and success. Learn how to be an excellent host with our 10-point checklist for hosting with excellence.
1. Check Your Ego At The Door
Your show is about making your guest the star. Your show should not be about you.
You need to use your interview (again – this could be a podcast, vlog, or written article) to help your guests advance their agenda – share their wisdom and expertise – not yours.
Avoid telling stories about yourself even if they are validating what your guest just said.
Your role as a host is not to validate what your guest just said. Your guest doesn’t need you to validate their experience. Attempting to do so can be seen as arrogant or like you are trying to steal the show.
Don’t do that. And if you have been listening to our podcast, Onward Nation, for a while now – you know – it is a very, very rare occasion that I will tell a story during an interview. I tend to save those observations or lessons for a solocast because, during an interview with a guest, they need to be the star, not you.
2. Do Your Research
What presence do you want to create for your core content?
As there are different styles to interview, take the time to research and listen to other hosts and hear how they interact with their guests. Take notes and use them to create the flow and style you want to create for your content.
Keep the conversation casual yet focused on the result outcomes you want to deliver to your audience.
Help your guests prepare by implementing a guest advocacy system so they receive email and text reminders before your interview as well as tips on how to sound their best during the recording.
Also, help your guest prepare by emailing them your questions in advance along with some insights regarding your audience so your guests have context and know how best to answer your questions.
You can do that by implementing a solid guest advocacy system that shares all of the logistics of their interview multiple times in advance of the day and time of the interview…shares the questions you plan to ask…and gives them tips on how to sound the very best they can.
You ought to supplement your guest advocacy system by personally setting expectations with guests.
5. Be Prompt
Plain and simple. Begin on time and end on time. This shows respect for your guest’s schedule.
6. Turn Off Electronics
Turn off your email, your cell phone, all social media, and listen intently to your guest so you can think of follow-up questions your audience would want you to ask.
Summarize and recap your guest’s awesomeness during the interview. Then ask your guests if you got the summary right or if you’re missed something. This is the perfect invitation to a guest to go deeper and share even more value with your audience.
Reflect back to your guest the impactful highlights of what he or she just shared, add a comment or two from what you have seen in your experience, and then ask your guest if you got all of that correct.
By asking the question, “Did I get all of that correct, Sally?” you do three things:
- You demonstrate to Sally that you are listening to every word she shared
- You show what she said mattered because you connected it to your own experience
- And lastly, you subtly prompted Sally to go deeper with her examples and experience sharing
8. Ask Questions
Start out the conversation with some light questions and then build trust and rapport in the first few minutes of the conversation.
- Be engaging, personable, and if you are able to make your guest laugh in the first couple of minutes, congratulations – you’re building rapport.
- Avoid asking deep, emotionally charged questions early on in the interview. It will not go well. Your guest will likely think you are trying to move too deep too quickly.
9. Show Gratitude
As the host, be sure to thank your guest before the interview, during the interview, and after the interview for taking the time to generously share their wisdom with your audience.
After the interview is completed, this is also a prime time to dive deeper into a topic you found interesting during the interview, and schedule further discussions.
Asking further questions can show gratitude to your guest as it shows that you were really interested in the information they gave and give an opportunity to work together.
10. Be confident.
You are good enough to do this. You are worthy. You will make a difference in the world by sharing the wisdom of your guests. You are building a nation of true fans. Kick the Imposter Syndrome to the curb by remembering the wise words of Walter D. Wintle, quoted by Napoleon Hill, author of Think & Grow Rich:
When you follow these 10 important steps – when you commit to them for each and every interview – you will be well on your way to hosting a highly successful podcast, video series, or blog – because – you will be a better interviewer – and that is the best way to get the best content out of your guests. Your audience will love you for it – and so will your guests.