3. About this online course

This course is mostly about the art of a so-called clarifying interview. The technology, editing, and nuances of sound, light, camera angles are important, of course, but will not be my focus. There are others who can show you the correct technology with a good sound and lighting system. Others can tell you how to market your Talkshow or Podcast and get a large following. Others can show you how to get sponsors and supplement your income or make a living as a Talkshow host. 

This course will focus on the art and science of asking good questions. You will learn:

–       When to be tough and when to be soft

–       When to dig deep and when to leave things alone

–       When to interrupt and when to be patient and silent

–       How to make your guests comfortable and get ”permission” to prod

–       How to look for keywords

–       How to find strengths, talents, and values

–       How to summarize

–       How to use your body language to supplement your words

–       How to observe the body language of your guest

–       How to move from abstract principles to concrete behavior

–       How to use the rule of ”Within 48 hours.”

–       How to understand how small changes can have a significant effect

–       How to follow-up

–       How to be brief and to the point

–       How to use your Talkshow format in various settings

–       How to do a brilliant interview in five to twenty minutes

In other words, this course is about how to be a Talkshow or Podcast host that both your guests and your audience admire and appreciate. This course will help you be good at what you do. Technological skills and marketing skills are also necessary, but first, you have to have a quality product. 

You and your Talkshow are the quality product, and I am here to give you the skills that will make people listen and say, ”Wow, thanks for that question. I learned a lot.” Or, ”It was so well worth the time to listen to your interview.”

You’ve no doubt seen or listened to hundreds and hundreds of Talkshow episodes, podcasts, video presentations, and the like in your life. You’ve seen the masters at work on TV and seen how the guests react and interact with their host.

If you are like me, you have your favorites, and you have your pet peeves. Here is one of mine.

On the top of my list of pet peeves are the Talkshow hosts who think they should be the center of attention. They talk too much and overwhelm their guests. They talk too fast. They talk too loudly. They do not make their guests feel comfortable. They talk about old news and do not move the guests forward. They haven’t done their homework or preparation. 

Sure, they may defend themselves by saying they are in the ”entertainment” business, and there is nothing wrong with emphasizing the ”show” part of the Talk-show. I say I am in the ”learning” business, and that is my approach. Go to a course on stand-up comedy, go to acting school – that’s fine. I simply want to learn from my guests and see how they react to my thinking and questions. My ambition is to help my guests grow, learn and define their next steps. In the process, I learn.

You may have another purpose, but this is mine and the orientation of this course.

A note about my background: Ph.D. in educational psychology, former school principal and university lecturer, consultant, and the author of 55 books. Most of the books are in Swedish – my roots are in the USA, but I have lived in Sweden for 50 years. My greatest concern is the status of educational systems around the world and how education can help explain, defend and develop our democracies. I have also hosted a TV show on the Swedish educational TV network. That show was called Dr. John (I guess Dr. Phil couldn’t make it). I’ve also had my own web radio Talkshow as Dr. John. I do Zoom-based and live interviews in a format I call The Empowerment Talkshow. (steinberg.se/talkshow)

Watch the film with Caroline

The third interview is with Caroline Hammarskjöld, who works on a big project to preserve the heritage of her Great Uncle, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld. Gain, the texts in the recording explain parts of my model for these strength-based talks and you will see how I pick up on keywords and ask clarifying questions that often make the guest pause, look away, sort, prioritize and think more deeply. You are affirming what they do well and what works while at the same time helping your guest to look forward towards next steps.