How I prepare guests for a podcast recording.

Written by Natalie Doyle

May 2, 2024

Podcast host, Natalie Doyle, sat ready to record a new episode of the Sport Sister Podcast

I’ve recorded a lot of episodes of the Sport Sister Podcast, and I’ve also been a guest on other podcasts. It always interests me how different people approach the process of preparing for an episode and the actual recording. The Sport Sister Podcast has a unique set-up as I nearly always have two guests joining me, and they usually don’t know each other. So one of my key tasks is to identify guests that I think will work well together, and to try and make them feel at ease during the recording so we can extract the best pieces of knowledge and experience to share with the listeners. In many ways, it’s similar to when we’ve talked in previous episodes about providing the right environment. I’m trying to create the right environment for my guests to flourish. If you host a podcast, you might be looking to do the same thing, so here are some of my techniques to try and make it as comfortable as possible for my guests:

  1. We record remotely. We have guests from all over the country, and with two guests for every episode it would be logistically very challenging to get the three of us in one room. It can often be hard enough to find a mutually convenient time and date when we’re recording remotely! Recording remotely also means that people are in their own comfortable environment. They can wear what they like, get themselves a nice drink, and relax.
  2. We only record audio. When we record the episodes, we show video so that we can all see each other, which I think makes the conversation flow easier. We only record the audio though. This is as much for me as the guests! It means we can just focus on what we’re saying, without worrying about what we look like. I’m sure recording video would provide some great social media content, but for me, it’s more important that I can focus on what my guests are saying without worrying about what my concentrating face looks like!
  3. I send the questions in advance. I always send the main questions or discussion points the week before the recording so the guests have time to read through them and consider their answers. Inevitably, we do go off on tangents and I ask some questions that weren’t on the list, but most of the things we talk about are on the list the guests are sent in advance. It reduces the risk of surprises and hopefully helps guests feel better prepared.
  4. We have a nice chat before we start. Once all three of us have joined the call and we’ve dealt with any inevitable tech issues, we have a little general chat. During this time, I go through the format of the episode, roughly how long we’ll be talking for, and answer any questions the guests might have. This helps all of us relax a bit, get into a rhythm, and have a general catch up or gossip before we get down to the more structured conversation!
  5. We edit the episode afterwards. I’m very clear with guests before we start the recording that the episode will be edited afterwards. It means that we can cut down any long pauses, they can restart answers if they wish to, and if they say anything that they don’t want to be included then we can edit it out. I’ve been on podcast recordings as a guest where the episode is released exactly as it’s recorded and it made me a feel a little bit of extra pressure, so I try and remove that pressure for my guests.

For me, I always know that I’ve invited brilliant guests for every episode, and it’s so important that I provide the best possible environment for them to share their amazing thoughts and experiences with the listener. The more relaxed we all are, the better the episode will be. I hope that shows when you listen to the episodes. If you want to learn more about what goes into planning the episodes of the Sport Sister Podcast then you can go behind the scenes here.

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