Prepare for recording great virtual summit sessions

1. Spend 1-4 hours researching each guest speaker beforehand and prepare specific questions for each one that fulfill what you want to achieve with the interview.

What expertise does your speaker have that is most relevant to your audience? How can this session best help your attendees overcome roadblocks or teach them a valuable lesson? Some tips when preparing questions: Research what topics the speaker commonly talks about and notice if they repeatedly get asked the same questions. Find a new angle on those topics instead of simply repeating those questions. Look for topics connected to your guest speaker’s main expertise, and offer them the opportunity to talk about something they rarely get to mention.

2. Share your goals with your speakers beforehand and ensure they understand your audience and purpose of the interview.

Give your interviews purpose so that your attendees can take action. For example, if your goal is that the summit attendees learn how to execute a certain workflow, ask your speaker if it’s OK to share this workflow in great detail during the session.

3. Survey your attendees on what they want to learn about, and add the topics to the questions you want to ask during the interview.

Create your questions to suit the speaker’s strengths and expertise. Do not script your entire interview, doing so might make the recording sound awkward. Make sure that you’ve got the questions at hand so you won’t forget to ask them.

4. Decide whether the speaker is a good fit for an interview or a slideshow presentation.

Some topics are better conveyed during conversations in an interview, while others should be taught using a slideshow presentation. Decide which format best suits the session topic, and collaborate with the speaker to come up with content for the session. For example, if you are interviewing developers about a certain coding standard, a slideshow presentation will likely be best. If you are interviewing an entrepreneur about their experience in dealing with mental health struggles, a conversation-style interview might be best to convey their learnings.

5. Do some practice runs with friends and record yourself interviewing them to get comfortable.

You won’t become a professional interviewer right away, but you’ll want to feel comfortable while conducting your live interview. Don’t expect your first interviews to be perfect (no interview will ever be) and be open and transparent about your nervousness during the recording, this will create rapport and build empathy with your attendees.

6. Have a solid pre-chat with the speaker before starting the recording to ensure the connection is stable, the speaker is using a decent microphone or headset, they know what you want to achieve with the session, and understand your target audience.

Make sure you have your notes with the interview outline at hand. Test the recording to adjust the volume levels if you cannot record audio tracks separately, and double-check that there’s no reverb from your voice coming through the guest’s speakers.

7. Have your plan at hand, but be flexible enough to adjust and to go with the flow.

Interviews can have a dynamic of their own. Trust in the preparation work you put in and in the understanding you have about your attendees. Resist the urge to script the entire conversation.

8. Ask your speaker to share their three best tips on the topic at the end of the recording.

This will allow you to quickly extract their best tips in short form, and you can turn the best tips from all speakers into a lead magnet, such as a PDF guide.

9. Give yourself time to learn and to master the craft of interviewing other people.

Don’t expect to record the perfect summit session straight away. It’s a skill that needs time to develop.