Be the best podcast guest you can be!  

Join Kathi today with guest, Cheri Gregory, as they discuss how to be a great guest. 

Today they will discuss the first five ways to make sure you walk away having the great interview that you want to have and serve the host.   

Podcasts are a great way for speakers and writers to expand their opportunities to share their ministry.  Kathi shares how an excellent podcaster is not setting you up for a quiz. They are setting you up for a conversation. 

Part one of this series will help both podcasters and those seeking to be a podcast guest. This two-part series will prepare you for the interview you want to have!

In today’s episode, you will know:

  • How to prepare for the interview you *want* to have
  • What are questions about the book that are not about the book
  • How to be prepared, not practiced, plastic, or promotional
  • When to define the problem and be solution-focused

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Download this week’s takeaways: 

Thank you to our friend Susy Flory with Everything Memoir for sponsoring this episode!


Join us for next week’s episode (Part 2) when we talk more on how to be a great podcast guest. You won’t want to miss it!

Transcript of this Episode

Communicator Academy Podcast # 156

How to be a Great Podcast Guest

Listen to the Everything Memoir podcast, and learn how to leave a legacy with your memoir or personal story. Whether it’s still only an idea, or nearing completion, the Everything Memoir podcast is a place to connect, get advice from Susy Flory, memoir expert, and author, or co-author, of twelve memoirs, including two New York Times bestsellers. If you haven’t read Memoir, just know that leaving a legacy for family and friends is one of the most satisfying experience you’ll ever have. It’s not easy, but you’ll be glad you did it.  Go to, or check out the link in our show notes.

<<intro music>>

Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Communicator Academy, where our heart is to equip and encourage men and women to become the communicators God has created them to be.  

Joining me today is one of my favorite people and fellow podcaster, Cheri Gregory. Hey, Cheri! Welcome back to Communicator Academy.

Cheri – Hey Kathi! Thanks so much for having me.

Kathi – We are here at The Red House, during one of our retreats that you’re teaching.  We got on the subject of podcasting and it’s been interesting, because you and I have both been podcasting. We’re kind of old guard in all of this. I mean, everybody’s doing a podcast now, but, I just realized I’ve been doing mine for five years.

Cheri – Wow!

Kathi – I know, right? Crazy.

Cheri – That is seriously impressive. Yeah, we just passed the three-year mark.

Kathi – Yeah. Grit and Grace with Amy Carroll. You guys doing an amazing job. Yours is very produced. Ours is much more Wild, Wild West, but you know what? Both have their own flair.

Cheri – Well, our audience? Yeah, we wouldn’t have an audience, since we do cater to recovering perfectionists. We do take a few things out. You do much more of the live theatre kind of approach, where once that microphone is going, who knows what might show up in today’s show, so you have to stay tuned to find out.

Kathi – And speaking of which. We are at The Red House. We have writers writing right now, and when they hit their five hundred words, there’s a bell that goes off, and you know what? Live theatre. I love that description. Live theatre.  Well, we are going to be fast and focused today, because we have two podcasts coming right at you. What we want to talk about, since there are so many podcasts, you know what there’s even more of, Cheri?  Podcast guests.

Cheri– Ah! Very true!

Kathi – Yes! And so, because every podcast, well, not every podcast. Let’s start out by saying that. Not every podcast has guests. We don’t always have guests. I often have just me and Tonya Kubo, who runs Clutter Free Academy.  Sometimes it’s just you and Amy, discussing another book or something like that, and so, we want to make sure you guys are the best podcast guests you can be, because, most podcasts do have guests. So, you and I did an episode awhile ago about how to be a great radio guest, and so, we’re taking some of those same principles, but we’re saying, “Okay, podcast is a bit of a different animal.” And so, how do you know when you are doing what you need to be doing? So, Cheri’s come up with this great list and we’re going to discuss the first five today and the last five next week, so you’ll definitely want to come back for that, but Cheri, talk to me about Number 1: Prepare for the Interview You Want to Have.  Now, I’m going to already disagree with you. How’s that?

Cheri– That’s fine, ’cause those are your actual words, so go ahead and disagree with yourself. I am all ears.

Kathi – Okay, here’s how I want to disagree with myself.  You’re there to serve the podcast host, but we’d both agree that you can also have the interview you want to have and serve the host at the same time, so let’s talk about that. You want to be able to steer questions in the direction that you want to be able to talk about, to a certain extent.

Cheri – Absolutely, and so, one of the things that’s so important is getting to know the podcast itself. Listening to some episodes. Finding out the tone of it. What is their topic? But then, once you are on as a guest, it is okay to give an example that really takes it in the direction of your expertise, to give an application that comes from your experience or from your book, if you have one, or whatever it is that you’re on the podcast for. You don’t have to be completely lockstep with answering the way they expect or what they’re looking for. 

Kathi – You know what I really want people to avoid when they come onto the Clutter Free podcast and they say, “If you want to have a clutter free marriage…” I’m like, “What’s a clutter free marriage?” I know it’s a marriage book, but I’d rather you talk about how, in your marriage, you deal with her wanting to keep all the art supplies and him like, “I want to reclaim that room.”  That’s what I want to hear on the Clutter Free podcast from a marriage expert. So, to understand, you’re not just looking for phraseology or words, but I’m having you on because you have an expertise and I think it’s going to be able to help. That is so, so good.  By the way, we’re answering these both as guests, and as people who have guests on.  And you guys have a lot more guests on than we do. It feels like it, no? You’re disagreeing with me.

Cheri – We’re in the middle of a summer series where we are actually just talking to each other almost all the time about our new book, Exhale.

Kathi – But your normal MO.

Cheri – Our normal MO is and interview, followed by a convo.

Kathi – And if you haven’t read Exhale, go do that.

Cheri – And I love how that leads to Number 2. I already broke a rule.

Kathi – That’s okay. “Questions they ask about the book are not about the book.” Explain that.

Cheri – Okay, so this comes from several experiences I’ve had, where an interviewer has said, “So you have a story in your book about such-and-such. Tell our listeners that story.” or maybe they’ll ask about the personalities and for me, as a yet-recovering perfectionist, it’s easy for me to panic and think, “Oh my goodness! I don’t remember all the details about that story. I better look it up really fast.” It’s like, no, they don’t actually care. They really, and you say this all the time, they just want to have a good conversation. So, the question about the book, is a prompt to have a good conversation. So, let’s say I don’t remember something, if they’ve looked up my media kit, and there’s a question they asked and it’s a question I never quite liked in the first place, I can say, “That’s a really great question and” and I make some generic response that covers that and steers it into a direction that works for us today for the conversation we’re actually having today.

Kathi – An excellent podcaster is not setting you up for a quiz. They’re setting you up for a conversation.

Cheri – That’s so quotable.

Kathi – Thank you! Okay, so hey, everybody, quote that. Kathi Lipp: hashtag genius. Here’s the thing, it’s not a quiz about your book. You know what, maybe if you’re a new podcaster and you’re finding your way, you’ll say, “Hey! Could you quote that verse for us?” And it’s like, never ask somebody to quote that verse or go to page 196 in the book. If you’re a new podcaster, don’t ever do that. If this is not a conversation you could have sitting by each other in a car when you’re driving? This is why Carpool Karaoke and Cars and Comedians Getting Coffee are so brilliant because it’s only the conversation you could have side by side, or even eye to eye without computers, that’s the compelling conversation.

Cheri – Let me add two more quick things there. One, the reason I was joking that I’d already broken this rule is, I already managed to slip Exhale, my new book into the conversation. Don’t do that. You always say, “Let the host…”?

Kathi – Let the host spotlight your work.  We were at dinner last night and we asked people what bugs you about podcasts and it’s like, “Well, in my book…” and that’s not what you did. Let’s be very clear. I was asking you a question about the content of your podcast. But when people do that, I’m like, “Oh. They’re here to self-serve not audience-serve.”

Cheri – The other one is: If you’re on a faith-based podcast and you suddenly realize there is a scripture you’d like to quote, but you don’t remember chapter and verse, you don’t have to fall all over yourself saying things like, “I wish I had a better memory for Scripture!” or “I think it’s this or maybe it’s this.” It is okay to say, “There’s a verse in Scripture that says something like…” Then summarize and move on. If you can quote it chapter and verse, word-for-word, do it! But if that’s not the way your brain works, don’t call attention to the fact that you’re not the kind of person you wish you were. Just move. Just go with it.

Kathi – And people are going to love that someone on a podcast can’t remember exactly where the scripture is, either. Okay, so, you have four words here that start with “P”.  Prepared, Practiced, Plastic, Promotional. So, you’re saying, “Be prepared, but not practiced.” So, talk about the difference between Prepared and Practiced, because I think we know Plastic and Promotional are bad, but we see it all the time, but what’s Practiced versus Prepared?

Cheri – Practiced means that it’s coming out like rote. You’ve done this so many times and maybe even you even almost interrupt the interviewer because you’re just so out of the chute so fast to get your answer in there. It lacks that quality of spontaneity or surprise. We were talking last night. One of the things people love is surprise. They love it when the conversation takes a slightly unexpected, ORGANIC twist and especially if there’s going to be some laughter in it. And banter. Especially if it’s been too practiced, one of the things we find as we’re interviewing, we’re getting better at watching our clocks and since we see our interview guests on Skype, we’re actually making some motions that say, “You need to breathe! We need to say something, because our listeners will enjoy this so much more if there’s some give and take and back and forth.” If I can joke. If I can throw Amy under the bus in the middle? Our listeners are very used to that kind of stuff happening, but if it’s too practiced, they might not even be breathing.

Kathi – It’s interesting. We have some people who will give the one second answer, or the ten minute answer. And both of them, I can’t use.

Cheri – So, having these 20-30 second, and you know, one technique I’ve had fun with you sometimes, is turning the question around on the interviewer. It’s like, the interviewer asks the question and to be able to say, “So, I’m curious now. What about you?” It totally changes the dynamic and it serves the listener so beautifully. 

Kathi – Right. And Plastic, I think, goes beyond Practiced. It’s like, “I don’t even want to be here.” Like, “I’m doing this because my editor or publisher has forced me to do it, and I’m not going to let you get in to me.” So, if you’re not willing to show some vulnerability, then, as a guest… Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be vulnerable in every area of your life, but there’s a reason you wrote this book. Because you’ve struggled with something. And Promotional. Yeah, let me, as the interviewer, promote your book. The best thing that’s going to promote your book is not saying the title seven times. It’s going to be having people be interested in your topic, so have a great conversation and they say, “That’s a great conversation, I have to go check out the book.”

Cheri – You know somebody that does this so well is Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. She has It’s not even She’s like, “If you want to know where your areas of sleep deficit are, go to” and they can take the quiz and they can get the information they need and while they’re there, they then discover what the next step will be. So, it’s entirely serving the listener, not promoting her at all. It comes across so beautifully.

Kathi – Yes. I love it. Okay, Number 4: Define the Problem, but be Relentlessly Solution-Focused. So, what does that mean?

Cheri – Well, I’m going to turn the table on you and let you be the one to fill this in, because I’m the one who tends to be, like, I could do 3/4 of the interview on the problem, because that’s what helps me so much in life, to figure out what’s the problem and then in my life, it tends to be the Holy Spirit walks me through to an answer and so, I can over-focus on the problem.  So for me, learning to be relentlessly solution-focused is always something I have to be very conscious of. So, talk to us about how we can do that.

Kathi – I think there are so many things where we kind of know the problem. “I have too much clutter in my life!”, “Everybody says I’m a perfectionist, that I’m no fun.” Or whatever that is. So, you may already know the problem. You may not know the ‘why’ of the problem, but you know the ‘what’. And so, my thought is, you can spend a lot of time on the ‘why’, but there are a lot of people who just need to know the ‘how’. “What do I do?” So, I like to break things down and say, “If you’re somebody who’s listening who, you don’t want to go home today. You’re in your minivan and you’re like, ‘I don’t even want to go home today because there’s so much clutter,’ here’s the first thing you can do.”

Cheri – The first thing.

Kathi – The first thing. Or, “Here is one small step you can take.” And so, in that circumstance, I would give them something super-tangible. Like, “I would love for you to just have a place to hang your bag, because that’s the first thing you can do to help yourself, and it’s the last thing you’re looking for before you go out the door and it eliminates the stress.” So, what’s that one thing? So, if it was perfectionism, and that’s a very complex issue, but what is something a woman could do who is just feeling overwhelmed by herself in that perfectionism? What is one thing she could do?

Cheri – Gratitude List. Start with one thing. Move to three things. Move to ten things.

Kathi – So, even in something as abstract and complicated as overcoming perfectionism, you have a one-step that can be very practical. 

Cheri – Write it down on something, whether it’s a whiteboard or the refrigerator, little slips of paper and putting them in a jar, or an actual Gratitude Journal, actually putting into words, gratitude. It’s the best first step I know.

Kathi – And that’s solution-focused, and so, they can unpack the ‘why’ later on, but what people are looking for is relief. They just need to know that there is hope for their present pain. We only have 15 minutes on the podcast, or half-hour, or whatever it is. It’s not enough time to fix the whole thing, but we can give them hope, so they can feel like, “Okay, I can take the next step because this one has worked.” So, Number 5: Refresh Your Memory of Your Material. Okay, so talk about that. You wrote the book! Why would you need to refresh your memory? 

Cheri – Yeah, we wrote the book, but by the time we’re doing interviews on it, we’ve generally written it up to a year ago, possibly even longer, and so, we may be on to a new project by now. And so, it’s important to remember why we fell in love with that concept, why that was so transformative. 

Kathi – I think that’s the most important thing: Why did you fall in love with the concept? It’s not about knowing what page number things are on. It’s about having a million tabs. I’ll write a clutter book and I’ll write a preparedness book. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about the clutter book anymore. It means that I have to be seeped in ‘Ready for Anything’, this book I’m working on now.  Oh my goodness, I remember the freedom that I was writing about in Clutter Free and you have to fall in love with that all over again.

Cheri – And you say, “Recall the burden you had when you were in the thick of The Pit.” and then remember the freedom, and that’s going to bring you to a place of, “Oh my goodness. For this interview, I’m going to think about the people who are listening who have the burden I don’t have anymore, and I want to move them toward that freedom with that one practical step.”

Kathi – Yeah, because why spend months, years writing a book and then not remember the burden of why you wrote it? Not remembering the freedom? Oh, Cheri, this is so good. And, you know, part of the reason we are doing this podcast right now, on Being a Great Podcast Guest, is because this is part of the focus of what we’re doing for the Leverage Conference. We’ve kind of turned everything on its head.  Now, we’ve got some of the core materials that we are keeping, but instead of focusing so much on “How do you get more speaking engagements?” we want to talk about how you get more engagement in your ministry.  Podcasts are one of the best ways to do that. So, instead of chasing down a million speaking engagements, I would love for you to chase down 999 000 speaking engagements, but I would love to see you say, “How can I be a resource for podcasters? How can I add real value?” So, that’s what we want to do here. So, one: Check out the link for Leverage, ’cause we have a coupon just for Communicator Academy listeners. We would love to see you there. We love seeing our own people at our own things, so we would love to see you in San Jose, California, November 4th – 6th, 2019. We’re going to have an amazing time. Cheri’s teaching. Michele Cushatt. Me. You can’t get away from us, people. We’re everywhere. Cheri, thanks so much for being on Communicator Academy.

Cheri – Thanks for having me!

Kathi – And thank you for joining us, friends. I’m Kathi Lipp. You’ve been given the best message in the world. Now, go live it.


*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items


Meet Our Guest

Cheri Gregory

Cheri Gregory

Speaker and Author

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.

Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at

Meet Your Hosts

Kathi Lipp

Kathi Lipp

Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO

Communicator Academy founder, Leverage: The Speaker Conference creator and master instructor Kathi Lipp, is a national speaker and author of 17 books including “Clutter Free,” “Overwhelmed,” and “The Husband Project.”

She is a frequent guest on radio and TV, and has been named Focus on the Family radio’s “Best of Broadcast.”

She is the host of the popular podcast “Clutter Free Academy with Kathi Lipp.”

Over the past 10 years, Kathi has helped hundreds of people increase their platform through teaching and coaching. She is a frequent teacher at writer’ s conferences and has helped countless authors and speakers find their audiences.

Kathi’s desire to help fellow speakers and authors avoid the mistakes she made, increase their confidence and be the person God made them to be, inspired her creation of Communicator Academy. Her newest adventure, is The Red House where she offers writer’s retreats and Writers in Residence events. Learn more about the Red House at

Michele Cushatt

Michele Cushatt

Author, Speaker, Mastermind Coach

As an experiened keynote speaker and emcee, Michele Cushatt’s speaking experience includes Women of Faith, Compassion International, and various retreats, conferences and events held across the country. She has also led radio, video and audio recording projects.

She co-hosted with Michael Hyatt on the popular This Is Your Life podcast. In addition, Michele serves as part of the Dynamic Communicators International leadership team, led by best-selling author and sought-after speaker Ken Davis.

Michele coaches multiple large-platform speakers in how to craft and deliver powerful presentations.
Michele authored Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life with Zondervan Publishers and I Am: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is. Her third book will be launched in Fall of 2019. She launched her first Mastermind group in January 2017 and is currently taking applications for her 2020 Mastermind.

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