One of the biggest emotions a podcast guest feels before being on your show is fear. Yeah, I know, you’re a nice person and doing your show will be fun, but most people are afraid. Unless you are a top tier podcast in Hollywood catering to celebrity interviews, this is probably one of the first times your guest have been on a podcast. The first time they’ve been interviewed “live”.

When people are afraid, they do strange things. They ignore your emails. I say they will be there but aren’t when you call them.

If you want to succeed as a podcast that lasts, you need to plan to support your podcast guest so they do show up.

Get Them To Commit

You’ve got a list of people you want to interview for your podcast, now how do you get them to commit. It is important to realize you aren’t just looking for people to say they will be on your show, you are looking for them to actually be on the show. One of the reasons Shawna and I stopped doing Photographer and Model was we had so many no-shows. People would say they wanted to be on the show, but then wouldn’t ever commit to a time or actually show up.

Here are a few tips on getting them to commit.

Benefits to them

One thing that amazes me is how often people ask you to do something and then tell you all the reasons they need you to do it. Your close friends will go out of their way to help you, but if your podcast guest doesn’t know you very well none of your needs matter. What motivates most people is what is in it for them.

Tell people what they will get out of being on your show. Exposure to your audience. To promote their new book or product. To be seen as an expert or thought leader. Start with those things.


The truth is you have a limited number episodes you can put people in. Informing a potential interviewee you only have one opening this month can motivate them. We also mentioned we did 4 interviews in an evening and they were allocated on a first come first served basis. So if they wanted to be on the show they needed to act quickly.

Give them a choice

People like to feel in control. One way to let them feel this way is to give them choices. The trick is to give them a choice that benefits you either way.

Don’t ask, “When do you want to be interviewed?”

Instead, ask “Do you want the 7 PM or 8 PM interview slot?” Either choice works for you, so you benefit.

Pre-show Guest Prep

As mentioned previously podcast guests are afraid. Even after they’ve agreed to be on the show, the fear is there. Many podcast guests have never been interviewed before and don’t know what it will be like. The unknown is scary.

To relieve those fears you need to give them as much information as possible about what’s going to happen. I’ve found the best way to do that is through a podcast guest guide.

The Podcast Guest Guide

I created a PDF for Photographer And Model and then did it again for Reactuate Games’ Say Something Smart Podcast. If you’d like to see those Podcast Guest Guides click here and I’ll email them to you.

Here are some of the things that were in them.

What We Needed From The Podcast Guest

Before you can even do the interview you need to be able to connect. You’re going to need a Skype handle, phone number or something. You also may want a bio to help you prepare for the interview or to use during the show.

After the interview, you may need a headshot to put on the episode and there may be links to the show notes.

List these things on the Podcast Guest Guide.

How The Show Works

In many, if not most cases your podcast guest won’t have listened to your podcast. It would be nice to be able to assume they would actually listen to at least an episode before being on it, but you know what they say about assume*.

Include in your Podcast Guest Guide the format of your show. The outline. What their part is in the show. The stuff you are probably going to tell them right before you start recording the interview.

For instance, we would always tell them to remain silent while we did the intro and our banter. They would know it was time for them to talk when we asked them a question. You it might be after you do their introduction. Whatever it is, put it in your Podcast Guest Guide.

Common Questions

One of the most common fears and pre-show questions we would get was, “What are you going to ask me?” Of course, we don’t know everything we’re going to ask. With some questions, you want to get what first thought comes to mind and don’t want them to plan out an answer.

Still you probably ask a lot of the same questions to all your podcast guests. Put those questions in the Podcast Guest Guide. You aren’t giving anything away because they could always just go listen to previous episodes. Also it is a sample of the kind of questions you ask, which should alleviate some of their fears that you are trying to make them look stupid.

Podcast Guest Tips

Most of your podcast guests aren’t professionals at getting interviewed. They might not have any experience thinking and speaking on their feet, so give them some help.

Remember anything you can do to make your podcast guest feel safe will improve the quality of the interview.

Simple things like telling them to pause quietly and not fill space while they are thinking with “ummm” or “ahhh”. Tell them you are going to ask them where they want listeners to follow up with them and they should have a website or social media URL ready.

For a complete list of Tips for Podcast Guests, download my sample Podcast Guest Guides here.

What things do you think every podcast guest needs to know before they come on your show? Comment below.

*It makes an ass out of you and me. Get it? ass-u-me.