I was recently interviewed on Mixergy! To give you a glimpse of the talent Andrew Warner has on his show if you’re not familiar, he’s interviewed Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank, Gary Vaynerchuck and even my internet crush, Noah Kagan. He has one of the top podcasts on the internet and I f’d up! Well, sort of. I’ve been craving to get on his podcast for years but I told myself I wasn’t ready and never reached out. I was far from ready this time, but it happened so randomly when I ran into him at an after party. I was jumping up and down literally as soon as I walked into my building and started snap chatting and teasing my audience about this big interview I was going to be on! Andrew Warner asked me to be on his show! The Andrew Warner!! I was ecstatic.
I’ve been able to get by and wing most things it but it backfired this time. I had about a week to prepare but was busy with proposals and work for Zee Group.There was a lack of preparation but I was not going to tell Andrew or reschedule it. I’ve heard some podcasts at the Mixergy collabore take six to nine months of advance scheduling! So I stayed up until 3am the night before listening to all as many interviews on Mixergy to get a feel for the types of questions he asks to refresh my memory of his interview style.
Below is a checklist of everything you need to know before your first podcast interview and what I’m doing to recover from my mistakes. Andrew recorded our interview on Skype, but I set-up my own tripod and camera because I wanted to review the interview before it was published. It sometimes takes several weeks or months before it goes live. I have not have had the fortitude to hit play yet.
Checklist: (I’ve included a couple tips Andrew shared with me as well)
1. Do several mock interviews with a mentor and a friend until you are comfortable. I practiced with my friend Alex and one of my mentors. It was helpful but it made me even more nervous! Do this way in advance. Not an hour before the interview like me!
2. Be vulnerable – Andrew who emphasized this before the interview. He explained his audience would resonate with full transparency of my story. I was not fully comfortable with sharing details of depression or my relationship with my father but Andrew made me feel relaxed. He told me I could opt out of answering any questions I wanted but requested I explain why. That was fair.
3. Dress the part! I wore my trademark bow tie! Don’t be lazy and wear a t-shirt unless your name is Mark Zuckerberg. Be ridiculous, but be memorable. In one of the interviews I listened to, some guy wore an entire pickle suit head-to-toe during his interview with Andrew and it really stood out!
4. Call Comcast to upgrade the internet speed to its max! You can downgrade later if you want but lagging internet speed would be embarrassing. There is usually a 30 day option to revert back.
5. Make sure to restart your computer and close all apps running in the background. Even if you work on a Mac.
6. Turn off the air conditioning. It is usually loud and can interfere with the mics audio.
7. Get a good mic. I wish I had an time to order an awesome mic but the one on your computer will work fine.
8. Call your doorman or receptionist and let them know not to disturb you. I did the interview from my apartment.
9. Put your phone on silent. This is obvious but once I had a notification go off. Oops.
10. Make sure to have your phone calls forwarded to a team member or virtual assistant to avoid disruption and also so you don’t miss any opportunities. Verizon allows free call forwarding.
11. Be sure to open all the blinds and have the light facing you. You want to look good on camera!
12. Make sure to set up a custom website link to see how much traffic you can capture from the interview. Have a goal in mind before agreeing to a podcast or interview. Is it to sell your products or services or it is to build a following and capitalize long term on the audience? I wanted to share my story and also direct his fans to my blog. At the end of the interview, I provided a custom url that you’ll see with a bonus to his listeners. [Added 9/3/16 – the URL is http://thezeeali.com/mixergy – I highly recommend you set up retargeting on this page as well.]
13. After the interview is over, be sure to make a point to ask the host for feedback so you can learn and improve.
Moral of this story is to prepare and practice your face off. Don’t start with the top podcast even if you know you can! Baby steps Zee!! Patience is something I’ve really struggled with most of my life until well, very recently and it’s still in process. I felt a sense a sense of high pressure to answer questions fast. I didn’t know what questions he was going to ask because he wants his interviews to be natural and to flow, not something rehearsed. Oh, and he does not edit any of his interviews! I’m so embarrassed about a food copyrighting question he asked me but my mind went blank considering I have a culinary arts background. There were other moments when I started rambling and was not answering the question asked because I felt the back story was important and forgot to steer back to the actual question. I’ve mentally beat myself up about it since the interview a few weeks ago.. I always blurted out that first thing that came to mind.
Make sure you’re subscribed to my email list and you’ll be the first to get access to the interview once it goes live in the next week or two. I’ll make sure to add to my answers to some of the questions he asked me on the special url I provide at the end of the podcast.
Two questions I will provide better answers to are:
“How did you get out of depression?”
“Can you share an example of how copyrighting is used by chefs?”
Added 8/28/16 – Link to Interview – https://mixergy.com/interviews/the-zee-group-with-zee-ali/