You’re reading an excerpt of Stop Asking Questions, by Andrew Warner, a veteran podcast host of 2000+ episodes. The book explains how to lead high-impact interviews and learn anything from anyone. Master the craft of interviewing with this complete digital package. Purchase now for lifetime access to the book and extensive audio and video resources.

The easiest way to introduce an interview is by telling listeners why you chose the interviewee and why you think it’s important for them to listen. I used this opening with Tara Reed, founder of Apps Without Code, which teaches entrepreneurs to build software without programming.

I introduced her by saying that I spent years rejecting listener suggestions for me to interview her. Frankly, I didn’t believe good apps could be built without code. But then I tried no-code tools for myself and realized how big the possibilities were. Later I discovered that Tara had raised money from Silicon Valley investors for a software company built entirely without code. Finally, I decided I had to interview her. I had a responsibility to help non-developers in my audience understand this new way of building software companies.

Billboard #2: The Shocking Question

Another way to hook listeners is to begin with a shocking question. One of my favorite opening questions is to ask founders how much revenue their businesses generate. That signals to my audience we’re going to get into topics that are usually considered too personal to discuss in public.

Oprah Winfrey used this technique in her interview with cyclist Lance Armstrong. Her first question to him was, β€œDid you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?” Does an interview get any more captivating than that?

But remember my advice from Part I: if you’re worried about a guest’s response to your shocking question, pre-ask it before recording. Make sure they’re prepared to answer and continue with the interview. You don’t want them so caught off guard that they shut down for the rest of the conversation.

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