Tag Archives: presenter

How do you introduce someone in a podcast interview?

I train people to interview others as well as to be interviewed themselves (generally not the same people, you understand). Something that’s changed over the last few years is that journalists are presenting their own interviews as podcasts. There are some things they could do to improve the result without much hard work.

For a start, if you’re marketing it as a podcast, consider publicising it as a radio show instead. Depending on your market you might well find some of your target listeners are put off by “podcast”, believing they need some sort of technical skill in order to hear it. They don’t care about whether it actually reaches them over radio waves; tell them it’s a radio show and they’ll get it.

Heeeere’s Guy! Start an interview strongly

I listened to a pretty good one the other day. The content was terrific. A lively interviewee and the interviewer knew when to shut up and let her speak (maybe a little too much for my tastes but he or she – I’m not disclosing identities – was perfectly clear that the guest was the star). That put it in the top niche of podcasts already as quite a number are ego exercises for the presenter, and I speak as someone who ran his own a few years back!

However, in this instance the presenter was too self-effacing. You wouldn’t have known their name from the show they put on, it was straight into “with me is…” and then bang, on with the interview. Always start off by introducing yourself.

Introduce the interviewee

The guest introduction was also low-key. The beginning of a show is always the attention-grabber, so here are a few pointers:

  • Don’t announce the name immediately. I’ve introduced people on stage before and their agents have sent me intros that begin “NAME is an Olympic athlete, who has scaled Kilimanjaro, tunnelled underneath Everest and played the lead role in Bugs Bunny the Musical for 15 years.” I always leave the name until last, so it’s “My guest today is an Olympic athlete, who has scaled (etc…) – a warm welcome to NAME GOES HERE”. You’re actually building up to something with an intro like this.
  • Ask your guest or their agent how they like to be introduced. Your idea of their professional highlights may not be theirs. And do make sure you introduce them. You might think it goes without saying that everyone will know who they are. You’d be surprised at the number of people who may not.
  • Raise your voice, in tone if not in volume, when you get to the interviewee’s name. It signals to the audience that someone good is about to speak, and that you’re excited about it. If you’re presenting live, they’ll know it’s time to applaud.

Interviewing isn’t as easy as it looks. You need to know when to shut up, when to probe a bit, when to interrupt and also to manage the timings. Get off to a strong start, though, and you’ll at least have their attention.

Do you need help with interviewing techniques? Contact me and we’ll talk. If you want to know more about how I can add value introducing people and generally MC-ing your corporate event, check my speaker and MC page.

To tie or not to tie

I had a great time media training Jellyfish last week – lovely people and one of their clients, Hari Ghotra, a chef who makes (as I discovered last night) very good curry kits.

It was a media company so I should have guessed – I was the only person wearing a tie (not the one in the picture above which is an old one, don’t worry, I haven’t suddenly put on a load of weight!). And a suit. But was this so wrong? Let me add that they said nothing at all to make me feel uncomfortable. This Daily Telegraph piece certainly suggests wearing a tie is essential for a man in business, but I do wonder.

The Telegraph points to a number of companies that actively discourage tie-wearing. Google, Amazon and a few others will actively dissuade the tie-wearers among us.


This, frankly, is where I draw the line. You can turn up to a meeting with me wearing what you like and I won’t bat an eyelid, I promise. It’s entirely up to you.

I will object, though, if you try to tell me what to wear. And if I decide I look better tailored than casual, that’s probably what I’ll do.

I suppose I’m just being lazy. Historically, business attire has been very easy for men and less so for women. Granted in the summer it can get uncomfortably hot but essentially, if you’re a bloke, “put on a suit and tie” is a passport to acceptance just about anywhere. Well-fitted is best and a lively tie is better than a boring one (be careful though: an old friend had a wedding anniversary once and wore the Scooby Doo tie he’d been given to church that morning, only to be greeted with the news that Princess Diana had died that morning).

If you have an important client (hint: every client is important) or if you’re being put in front of an audience, a tie is a signal not that you’re serious or competent but that you’re taking them seriously, you’re playing the game and making an effort for them.

It’s no substitute for content or manner, of course. But I don’t think I’m going to go tieless habitually just yet when there’s a client involved.

Speaking out loud

Today I’ve been having fun. It started when I picked up a copy of the Times and checked the supplement on collaboration, published by Raconteur. I have two articles in this, and although I’ve been a journalist for 25 years I still get a kick out of that. Look, stop staring.

The other fun thing has been a video shoot. Video shoots are becoming increasingly popular because the hard copy newspaper and magazine is no longer the dominant form – or it won’t be soon. And once you’re on a phone, tablet or computer, you’re no longer wedded to the written word only.

So I’ve recorded six brief pieces to camera for Computer Business Review, for which I’ve been given the title “Contributing Editor” for the New Style of IT hub, sponsored by HP. They’re little more than video blogs, drawing from recent news items. I’ve also done video interviews for them – a screen grab is above. I’ll be in shot initially on the new vids, then fade to voiceover.

Some stuff I’ve learned about video work is:

  • I get up in the morning, think I look terrible if I’m supposed to be filming, I apply more moisturiser, still think I look dreadful, and nobody notices. This must mean I look like this all the time.
  • I don’t do stereotypes but it’s always the woman in the room who notices my tie isn’t straight.
  • If you decide to do “tieless” (see above) you run the risk of undoing one button too many and looking like a faded 1980s rock star but without the glittering career behind you.

More seriously there are some practical points:

  • If you’re doing a set of videos for uploading at different times, remember to take subtle changes of outfits – nothing major, your hair won’t change length so anyone who wants to check whether they were all filmed at the same time can do so. Today I recorded six videos using two jackets and three ties, for example – just enough so they don’t look too identikit.
  • Always use a professional crew when you can. Today I was working with 7 Storey Media, the video on my journalism page was shot by Jeremy Nicholas (and for what it’s worth the photo at the header of my pages is from Will White). Each has been a pleasure and I’d recommend them without hesitation. They know the bits I don’t about pictures and composition.
  • Upload the videos to a place that’s good for sharing. Professional Outsourcing Magazine uses Vimeo, and you can see I’ve shared a video from this on my journalism page. Computer Business Review uses something else and in spite of entering my WordPress username and password constantly, it won’t let me do any more than share a still as I’ve done at the top of this post.

Do you use video on your website or publication? If you don’t, it’s probably about time to start thinking about it. If I can help you as a presenter, voiceover or with scripting for videos, do drop me a note by clicking here and I’ll look forward to working with you. If you’d rather leave your details below, feel free to use the form.