8. First, look at the big picture

What do you want to accomplish by starting your Talkshow (blog, podcast, etc.)? What is the philosophy behind your approach?

Let’s get one thing straight. The best mentors, coaches, conversationalists, and Talkshow hosts know that their purpose is to put their guests at the center of the conversation, not themselves. You shine by getting others to shine, so please don’t worry about yourself; worry about asking quality questions in a manner that puts your guest at ease and prepared to reflect, analyze or prioritize various choices.

This is not to say that you are not the focal point of your Talkshow. Indeed, some of the most famous Talkshow hosts of the past, like the Brit Michael Parkinson or the American Larry King, were the centerpiece on the table. There was no doubt that the most famous Talkshow host of modern times, Oprah Winfrey, was the centerpiece of her show. But Oprah and others seemed to be genuinely interested in learning from their guests and wanted to explain to the world what their guests had for special ideas, experiences, talents, or values. Yes, you can go the nearly 100% entertainment route like Johnny Carson did or Graham Norton still does, with a touch of seriousness now and then. You can also go the news route, like Barbara Walters and Christiane Amanpour have shown us. 

For me, and I hope for you, the big picture is that you are there to bring out the brilliance, talent, strengths, and values of your guests. Only when you understand this basic concept do you have a chance to be successful if you are not a top-class entertainer, journalist, or comedian – and then they have to do it too to be genuinely interesting in the long run.

As you, no doubt, understand, this is also the essence of a good conversation. Sure, you can tell your tale, and share your feelings and experiences, but you become more interesting by making your conversational partner more interesting. Not only that, but you will also become more attractive – physically and psychologically. Really!

One of the challenges is to decide on a format that is within range of your finances, networking skills, and level of ambition. As mentioned before, you can go down the amateur path, which I have purposely chosen, or the full professional path. But, just so you know, a thoroughly professional twenty minutes NPR podcast (most of which I love and admire) can take weeks, if not months, for 5 to 10 staff members to get near perfection. 

My suggestion – start simple but with a deep purpose. Borrow mine if you wish: to bring out my guests’ brilliance, talents, and strengths.

Borrow also my humanistic philosophy if you wish – that each individual can make a unique and valuable contribution locally and globally when acknowledged, accepted, trusted, and encouraged. 

Watch the interview example with Dylan.

Here is one more learning conversation, this time with Dylan, who is fully aware of how to get from A to B. He knows the importance of attitude and strategies – and the importance of commitment. Again, notice how well a young person can explain their learning process. You are by now, no doubt, familiar with my pattern and interview routine. How does it fit with your approach? What form type of interviews and conversations would you feel comfortable doing? What form och type of interview would be a challenge and exciting to try.