Growth Mindset Podcast

88: How to be Better at Interviewing - Sam Harris

January 30th, 2020

Hosting a podcast interview is a lot harder than it sounds. It’s not a simple as having a friendly chat in front of a pair of microphones.

If you don’t prepare, you could end up with a boring interview that fails to entertain your listeners and entails you into receiving bad reviews.

It can be scary to start a conversation with someone. You might be wondering “what do I say?” or “what if I say the wrong thing?” or “what if people think I’m stupid?”

How do you make sure you host a great podcast interview or hold a simple conversation with someone? Sam Harris compiled his top four tips for killing it in an interview


My name is Sam Harris. I am a British entrepreneur, investor and explorer. From hitchhiking across Kazakstan to programming AI doctors I am always pushing myself in the spirit of curiosity and Growth. My background is in Biology and Psychology with a passion for improving the world and human behaviour. I have built and sold companies from an early age and love coming up with unique ways to make life more enjoyable and meaningful.



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Top Tips

Tip #1 - Listen, Listen, Listen

Listen to the guest, don’t fill your head with what you want to say next because, in reality, it will be a response to something they haven’t said yet.

Good listening allows us to demonstrate that we are paying attention to the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of the other person (seeing the world through their eyes).

This is crucial to maintaining productive relationships, and sometimes the only way to establish communication.

Tip#2 - Make Notes but Try Not to have a Load of Questions

Don’t pack multiple questions into one unless they are closely related. They can be confusing, especially if the guest has a lot to say. Ask your questions one at a time as you would in natural conversation.

Tip#3 - Ask Interesting Questions

Basic questions are a no-no

Avoid asking basic questions. Asking basic questions make it seem like you don’t know the person you’re interviewing.

These are bad: “What are you best known for?” or “What book are you promoting?” Instead, set up good questions by establishing a premise or hypothesis beforehand

Tip#4 - Recursive Questions

Recursion is a challenging concept. If you're a programmer, then you would have an idea of where I am going. If you don't, I'm happy to explain to you how this goes.

Being able to think recursively is very important because solving a problem with recursion is cleaner and easier to implement. It can also be used to break down problems into smaller components — a recursive pattern known as Divide and Conquer.

Understanding how asking recursive questions is, this strategy allows you to provide different angles for listeners by opening doors that could lead to an insightful conversation with your guest.

Bonus Tip #1- Encourage Healthy Debates

Bonus Tip #2 - Find Inspiring Role Models

Bonus Tip #3 - Consider your Guest's Feeling Towards a Personal Topic

Hoping these tips, which are quite different from what you'll hear or read, help aspiring and experienced podcasters alike be better at their craft of interviewing or conversing, in general.


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