The Question That Can Make Or Break Your Podcast Interview

podcast question jeff bartsch podcast interview marketing

How podcast guests should answer the first foundational question.

One of the beauties of podcast guesting is that it mimics genuine conversation when done correctly. For the listener the ideal interview should feel like you’re listening to two friends talk over coffee.  They aren’t scripted and they aren’t a rapid-fire quiz with the host drilling their guest with questions. Think of it as the key turning in the ignition of a car or the spark that sets off a fireworks display. It might seem small, but it packs a mighty punch, capable of capturing everyone’s attention and forming a connection from the get-go.

Generally, guests understand they should show up prepared, with the key points they want to hit during the conversation. But there is one subtle question almost every interviewer asks that is often overlooked in our preparation and almost all of us screw it up. Unfortunately, it’s often the first question of the interview and your response determines whether the audience turns you up or turns you off. “Tell me about yourself…”

"Storytelling is based on tools, frameworks, and skills. The good news is those can all be learned by anyone who decides to learn them. The number one thing to keep in mind when you think about storytelling, you need to first start with the definition of what a story is."
Jeff Bartsch
Jeff Bartsch
Founder of Story Greenlight

Let's explore the magic behind this crucial moment and discover why it sets the tone for everything that follows.

> The Power of First Impressions

The initial exchange in any new encounter determines how you perceive everything that follows and podcast interviews are no different.  When the show kicks off, the way your response to the first question is posed can either have listeners leaning in, eager for more, or skipping your episode. It’s akin to the opening line of a beloved book or the first scene in a gripping movie that hooks you immediately.


> Crafting the Perfect Response Through The Art of Storytelling

Podcasts aren’t for sharing your accolades and giving a sales pitch. It just doesn’t work. You don’t have to convince the audience they should care about your message if your message is done in a genuine way that facilitates connection. 

You are creating a moment. A story they can relate to and that addresses their problems and how you can solve them. How well you craft a story that piques their interest and pain points directly relates to how you land that first impression and start to build the know-like-trust that makes audiences want to keep listening. This is how high-touch sales convert, they need to know you are the expert that can solve their problems. A podcast that skillfully intertwines narratives into its framework invites listeners into a shared journey, making each episode a collective experience.


> The Unique Space of Podcasts

Podcasts create a special kind of closeness that you don’t often find in the flashy world of TV or the big moments of live events. They allow us to dive deep into subjects, building real connections through the thoughtful and detailed conversations that define this format.

If anything it may be more crucial than other speaking engagements. If you are speaking on a physical stage the audience has been primed about your appearance and made a choice to stay for your presentation and what you have to say. Podcast listeners likely have no preconceived notion about you either way and their rapport with the host can only carry you so far into the conversation.

Like everything else in your business, you should aim to continuously improve how you show up to your podcast interviews.

The significance of the first foundational question in podcast interviews extends far beyond mere conversation initiation. It serves as the cornerstone for crafting a memorable and engaging experience, setting the stage for the entire dialogue to unfold. By emphasizing the importance of making this initial connection count, podcasters have the opportunity to ignite curiosity, share compelling stories, and unite both guests and audiences alike.

As listeners, it’s crucial to recognize the magic inherent in that first question—the moment where anticipation and excitement converge. It’s about creating an atmosphere that feels electric, where everyone involved is on the brink of something truly thrilling. This isn’t just about formalities; it’s about opening the door to a conversation that truly matters, inviting both guests and listeners to embark on a journey that is both captivating and meaningful. So, the next time you tune in to a podcast, remember: that it all begins with that first question, setting the stage for an experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Jeff Bartsch, founder of Story Greenlight, has spent two decades consulting leading brands like ABC, Disney, and Apple on the art of storytelling and marketing strategy. Jeff joined us on The Podcast Interview Marketing Show where he demonstrates how your response to that first foundational question can lose your audience before you even have them. 

Sharing strategies on how to craft a compelling personal storybrand that elevates your communication to keep your audience engaged and drive real results in your business.

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