Top 10 Tips For Becoming The Best Podcast Host & Getting The Most Out Of Your Guests

Being a great podcast host is about more than having a great microphone (Blue Yeti Nano anyone?)

It’s about having great conversations, equipping listeners with actionable takeaways, and most importantly – having fun!

A podcast is a fantastic way of leveraging your personal brand, attracting right-fit clients to your business, and building a loyal and engaged audience. 

If you’ve considered launching a podcast but have no idea where to start, below are our top ten tips for being a great host and getting the most out of your guests.

  1. Make your guests feel comfortable

It can feel a little intimidating to appear as a guest on a podcast show. It’s your job to make your guests feel as comfortable as possible by: 

  • Sending your guest general questions or points you’d like to touch on before the agreed recording date. We would recommend 48 hours in advance so they have time to prep.
  • Having a pre-recording conversation during which your guest can highlight any concerns and you can ensure that you are both on the same page.
  • Making sure you are using affirmative language, both verbal and non-verbal. This includes eye-contact, nodding your head, and vocalising your agreement.
  • Reassuring them that any mistakes can be edited out.

The goal is to ensure that your guest has a great experience from the get go. This will make the conversation flow more naturally and allow their best ideas to surface. Additionally, it will mean your guest is more likely to share their experience with their audience afterwards and talk positively about their time on your show.

  1. Don’t over-script

It is absolutely critical that you research your guest before they appear on your show. This shows both your guest and your audience that you are prepared, engaged, and enthusiastic. 

The more you know about your guest, the more control you have over the conversation. You’ll be able to ask off-the-cuff questions based on what your guest is saying. This is how you can get the most unique, interesting ideas from them as opposed to the answers they’ve likely given in other interviews – or worse, could have typed over email.

However, beware of scripting your conversation too much. It may sound stilted and forced to the listener and could feel like you are railroading the conversation and not giving the guest the chance to share their ideas. Instead of scripting a whole episode, have a list of three to five high-level topics you want to touch on and a few specific questions for each of those topics. 

You can narrow it down even further by condensing your questions into a list of keywords you’d like to hit with your guest. Think of them as milestones from which the next part of the conversation can be initiated.

This way, you can build a general framework that allows you to see where one topic might segue nicely into the next – but try to keep it flexible and be open to opportunities when you spot them. 

  1. Be flexible — and listen!

Even with a list of high-level topics, the conversation may not go in the direction you had envisioned. Whilst it’s up to you to bring the conversation back on track if it feels appropriate to do so, be open-minded to what your guest is saying and really listen to them.

Lots of new podcasters get so caught up in the conversation fitting the framework they have planned that they can miss some gold!

Your guest might take you down a path you’d never considered before, one that leads to an interesting, thought-provoking conversation that you know your audience will love. However, you may not pick up on this if you are staring at a script. If you’ve done your research you’ll be able to improvise and make the most of it. 

  1. Support your guests

Remember that each guest is different. Some guests will be natural-born storytellers and will require very minimal input. Others might sound more robotic, like they’re telling a story they’ve told hundreds of times before. 

This is why your approach needs to be flexible. If a guest is struggling to fall into a natural rhythm, try asking them questions about themselves – after all, it’s everyone’s favourite topic! 

To inspire more in-depth answers, consider asking thought-provoking questions such as “where did this idea come from?” or “how did it feel when you did X?”.

Being confident is so important. Your guest is looking to you for guidance. It’s not their responsibility to make sure you have a good conversation, hit key points, and make a great episode. That relies on your confidence as a host. 

  1. Be authentic

A great podcast host is open, vulnerable, honest, and most importantly: themselves. You can’t expect your guest to be these things if you aren’t! Making your guest comfortable starts with you. 

Share relevant anecdotes, jump off what your guest is saying, and show how you can relate to them. Ask questions you genuinely want to know the answers to, not just questions you think you should ask. 

  1. Make sure a topic is fleshed out

Often podcast conversations can jump from topic to topic very quickly. 

Whilst an organic, off-the-cuff conversation is great for all the reasons we’ve touched on, a conversation that has no structure and is too casual can be confusing. The audience is left wondering what the point was and might struggle to identify what they got out of the episode. 

To avoid jumping on to the next topic too quickly, ask your guest follow-up questions like “can you explain what you meant by this?” or “do you have examples of that?”. This will help to ensure that your listeners are left with actionable takeaways at the end of the episode, rather than listening to a lot of points with no substance.

  1. Ask wisely 

Our top three tips for being deliberate with the questions you’re asking are:

  • Avoid yes/no questions or questions that anyone can Google the answer to. Instead focus on open-ended questions like “What”, “Where” “How” and “Why”. 
  • Avoid leading questions: you don’t want your opinion to influence your guest or for them to feel like you are forcing your own agenda on them.
  • Ask one question at a time and give your guest time to work through their answer.
  1. Direct the conversation but don’t interrupt

Interrupting a guest should be the exception rather than the rule. 

If they’re straying far away from the topic and have been monologuing for five minutes straight, it might be worth politely interrupting them and redirecting the conversation. You might try waiting until they take a breath, or jump in when you sense your guest is using filler words and has begun to ramble. 

  1. Be your audience

Whilst of course you should be producing content that your audience loves, you have to make sure you enjoy the content you’re producing as well. It’s hard to hide how you feel in your tone of voice, and your audience will notice if you are bored or disinterested.

Of course, the listener is the most important person and it’s important to think about what they’d like to gain from an episode. A good way to identify this is to think of your podcast audience in the same way you think about your customers when releasing a new product or service, or when defining your customer journey. What questions would they ask if they could talk to your guest? What do themselves and the guest have in common? What fears or worries do the listeners have that the guest can reassure?

  1. Find the balance

You may have realised by now that being a great podcast host is all about striking a balance. Keep it casual, flexible, and friendly — but make sure you stick to the time, don’t go too far off topic, and hit the key points. 

Ultimately, the audience should finish the episode feeling as though they’ve listened to an organic, interesting conversation and that they’ve learnt something they can take away and action in their lives.


If you’re interested in hosting a podcast but have no idea where to start, hop on a free Clarity Call with our team of experts. We’ll be happy to discuss how you can use podcasting to boost your profile and your business – without eating into your precious time. 

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