AskPat 347 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 347 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today, I hope you're having a pleasant day, evening, night, morning, wherever, whatever you're doing, thank you so much for listening. As always I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.
Alright, here's today's question from Lea.
Lea: Hey Pat, my name is Lea Pica, and first I'd like to thank you so much for all your work. I would be nowhere without all of your amazing information. And today, I've just launched a brand new online business all about helping online marketers and web analytics practitioners, like me, upgrade their presentation and data visualization skills. And I know presenting is something near and dear to your heart. My site is LeaPica.com.
So on to my question. One of my first orders of business, now that my site is live, is to launch a podcast, of course. I plan to include interviews for some of the episodes, but I'd like to get a better sense of your podcast interview workflow. Your recent post about the interviews were so helpful. Specifically, once you've contacted and confirmed a guest, what information is being sent to them and how do you conduct research and develop the questions you plan on asking them? And are you chatting with them before the interview so they're aware of what you're going to ask, or how are you getting to know what kinds of things they'd actually like to talk about? And then any insight into what the workflow for the actual interview session looks like from soup to nuts would also be really really helpful.
So anything you could give here would be so appreciated and to sweeten the deal, if you answer my question, I promise to sing your son's favorite Disney or kid's song to my son at bedtime wearing the AskPat t-shirt and I will put it on YouTube. That's a promise. So thank you so much for all you do, Pat. You're a national treasure. Namaste.
Pat Flynn: Hey Lea, thank you so much for the question today, and I'm so excited because now that your question is featured . . . and trust me, I don't do this to everybody. I've had people offer me things to have their question featured on the show before, and that's not why I picked your question, but I kind of do want to see this too. So the song, I will reveal at the end of this, people might want to know, you can wait until the end. If not, doesn't matter, we're going to answer your question.
And this question is a great one because obviously, I've been doing a lot of podcasting, a lot of interviews, and I've felt that I've improved dramatically over time, and I've learned what has worked. But I've also learned what has worked for me. And you're also going to find out that you're going to have your own voice and your own favorite style of doing something, and you can take different inspirations from different people, and hopefully you take this advice, and you kind of see how it might fit in with you and your goals. That's the major thing. I'm not telling you how you should be doing it, but this is what I do, and you can take as much or as little of it as you like, and that goes for everybody else out there who's listening to this right now.
So first of all, congratulations on your brand new business. I think it's great, and I think it's cool that you're starting a podcast as well. I say this over and over again: The podcast has been the number one way, the Smart Passive Income Podcast, that is, although AskPat is making a big difference now as well, but it's the number one way that a lot of people have found, or the majority of people who come to my blog now, have found me, which is insane. I conducted a survey to help me discover that. But it's also the number one way I'm able to build a relationship with my audience as well. And whenever I go to conferences, the first thing people say is, “Pat, I love your show, and I feel like I know you.” Which are things that are amazing for your audience to say to you, and you're going to find the same thing over time as you build your audience too, Lea, and everybody else out there.
So what is the workflow like? So after you confirm the conversation that's going to happen in the future, there's a few administrative items you want to make sure both parties understand. That is, how are you guys going to connect with each other? Obviously on your end, you want to know how you're going to be recording this, whether through Skype and call recorder by Ecamm, if you're on a Mac, or Pamela for Skype if you're on a PC. There's other ways to do it as well. You can use what's called a mix minus. If you don't know what that is, don't worry about it, but it's a more professional way of recording these conversations and making sure they're a much better quality and there's no dropouts and things like that, so that's something you could explore as well. And there's other ways you could record as well, but the major thing is you want to communicate and make sure the other party knows exactly how and when this is all going down. If it's on Skype, make sure they know your usernam. Make sure you know theirs, so you can connect with each other as well. Make sure that you are available on Skype and you're not hidden or in a “do not disturb” status so that those connections can come in quite easily, and you also want this person to just understand kind of what it is that you want to talk about.
Now the thing is, I never, or hardly ever, unless it's a special request, I don't ever or I hardly ever give the person I'm interviewing a set of questions. I don't do that because I feel like the conversations can become a little less natural. Now some people can respond very well to that and make it sound very natural. However, I like the conversation to go wherever the conversation goes around a particular topic. That's why the topic and the goal of the interview . . . what can this person actually provide, what is his expertise or her expertise, what is it about this person that we want to get out and extract from this person so that our audience can benefit from it?
Again, thinking about what's in it for your audience. And you, being the facilitator of the discussion, to ask the right questions and to get the conversation going down a direction where you're going to get those things out of that person that, like I said, is going to help your audience as well. So that's why I mention, for example, I had a conversation with Ramit Sethi the other day because I interviewed him for the podcast. And before getting into it, we were like, “Okay, so we're going to talk about product launches, I want to make sure that my audience knows exactly all the ins and outs of launching a product and the pricing structures, and we're going to get into all those things, but first, let me ask you, how ya doing?” You know, those sorts of things, and we're not even recording at that point. So that's another thing: When you first get on the call, I always talk to that person just a little bit before. You never want to start a recording right away.
You also want to make sure that person knows when you are about to click the record button, just so they're comfortable. You want that person to feel as comfortable as possible. I always say, “Let's just pretend we're at a coffee shop, and we're having a casual conversation about whatever it is the topic is.” And that usually does a good job of helping people feel more comfortable, and the more comfortable they are, the more likely they are to open up, to express more feeling, to be excited to be there on the show. Whereas if you say, “Okay, in five seconds, I'm going to hit the record button and you're on, five, four, three, two . . .” I was just using my hands there but you can't see that. Yeah, you don't want that to happen because it's very very dramatic. There's anxiety that comes into play, especially if that person is not used to being on the microphone. You want to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
Now in terms of during the interview, you want to make sure that you are having literally a conversation with them. The big thing for me as an interviewer is, again, I know what I kind of want to get out of this person, I know what stories I want to ask about, I know what information I want to share with my audience that can only come from this person. It's my job to have a conversation to get there. I can ask questions and have an idea of different questions that I've written beforehand, but I never go,”Question one, question two, question three.” I never do that. I don't even list the number of questions. You never want to do that. At least, again, I'm talking about what I'm comfortable with and my style, and this is my style. I don't even do much research, and I know you asked about research as well. Especially if it's somebody who's written a book, or who has done something, you know obviously you want to do a little bit of research. You don't want to just go into a conversation and be like, “Hey, who are you?” No, you want to do a little bit of research, but I don't do too much because then I get the curse of knowledge. And the curse of knowledge is when you know too much about something that you don't know what it's like to not know that thing.
And again, I'm talking about your audience and sometimes people who have the curse of knowledge, who have done too much research on somebody they're interviewing, they almost act a little higher than their audience if that makes sense. They feel like they have it in with the author and that they're talking their own language about this, whatever they're talking about, a book perhaps, and then the people who are listening are like, “Wait a second, I didn't catch that,” or, “I don't know what you meant by that.” You know, it might be easy to say, and this happens very often, “So author, in chapter nine, you talk about the power of exponential whatever, can you explain what that means?” Well first of all, you've just already confused people because they don't know what that is, and yes you're asking about it, but lead up to it. You can start with something that makes a little bit more sense. You don't want to be like, “Okay, chapter nine,” and chapter nine means nothing to those who are listening. You might want to start with “Okay, so in the world of financing, there are a lot of people who feel this way, but there are also people who feel this way. Where do you stand on that?”
You know, those kinds of things are great, this sort of “where do you lie in this sort of controversy” or within these two views, where do you lie and why. Again that “why,” and moving on to my final point here, is very, very important. And again, why I don't ask bullet pointed or numbered questions. I have those questions potentially written out beforehand, but I never follow that. They are there as a guideline in case I get off, in case I spaced out which does happen sometimes, and you'll find that this happens to you a lot in the beginning because you're so worried. You're just in this different world of doing an interview. A person will respond to one of your questions and you're thinking about potentially what to ask next or you're looking at something and you might space out and then there's dead air, and you're like “Ahh!” But you can always just go back to your list or again, whatever that major goal is.
But again, make sure you listen and have a conversation. When you have a conversation you're tuned in, you're listening, you have follow up questions. You wouldn't just have somebody, for example, that you're speaking with at a coffee shop say, “Oh you know what, my boyfriend and I just broke up.” “Oh okay, question number two.” No, you go, “Oh wow, what happened? Why?” and you dig deeper. When you dig deeper, when people respond and you continue to go down that same path that they just started for you, that's where all the gold in all those interviews come out of, truly. And unfortunately, a lot of podcasters get flustered or they want to move on to the next topic too soon. Keep going with it, you'll find that six, seven, eight questions deep from a seed question is where a lot of the great comments come out, and a lot of the great answers come out of the person that you're interviewing.
I remember doing an interview once that I had planned to just go down this one complete direction and based on this person's answers to the first few questions that I asked him, we went down a completely different path. And the whole interview was completely different than what I had imagined it was going to be and it was so much better, it was so much better. I think I even mentioned in the episode itself near the end, I think it was Jordan Harbinger actually, from The Art of Charm who I interviewed, and I was like “Jordan, dude, we didn't even get to talking about whatever I said we were going to talk about in the beginning because this was just so interesting. Thank you for staying with me on this. Maybe I can invite you back on for the future and we can talk about that topic instead.” So again, your job is to ask those seed questions, but then take that conversation wherever it wants to go. If it then gets to an end point, then you can move to your next topic and, Lea, you'll see that over time you'll get more and more used to this. It won't be natural at the beginning. It'll be difficult, you're going to make mistakes, and that is okay. You are doing what you need to do to build your brand and that is what is awesome.
So hopefully this helps answer your questions, and I really appreciate the question, Lea, so we're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt and I cannot wait to see you wearing the shirt and singing a song that my son likes from Disney. And that song is . . . actually I'll give you two songs because this song may be a little bit more difficult. My son's favorite Disney song, at least as of late, is from the Disney classic Aladdin, and that is “Friend Like Me.” Which is the song that, for those of you that have seen it, is the one that the Genie sings. “You ain't never had a friend, never had a friend, you ain't never, had a, friend like me, wahh wahh, wahh wahh wahh . . .” Yeah, I could go on for days, but it's because I hear it all the time. But yes, that's his favorite song. If you could do that, kudos to you. That's a tough one. Robin Williams (RIP) he was incredible in that song. Or, a better song might be, and this is one of my favorites, “I See the Light” sung by Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder in the lantern scene in Tangled. And that's actually sung by Mandy Moore, so if that's more in your range you can sing that one too. So anyway, you don't have to do it, although I think everybody listening to this will now want that to happen, and I guess we'll use the . . . when you post this, share it on Twitter, use the hashtag AskPat347 that way we can follow along, people in the future can go back and find it and see it.
So thank you again so much, and I know it's going to take maybe a few weeks to get that because we're going to take a couple weeks to get the shirt to you and all that good stuff. So anyway, thank you for making this fun and I appreciate you, wish you all the best of luck. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured on the show all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com, you can ask right there on that page.
Thanks so much and as always, I like to end with a quote, and today's quote is from Buddha. It says, “In the face of adversity be grateful, for such opportunities do not come by often.”
Cheers, take care, and I'll see you on the next episode of AskPat.