This is a common problem. You finally have someone extraordinary in front of a mic, and you are ready to have the best podcast or evening show ever. But this guy does not say a word. They use simple one-word answers to your questions, which is not helping at all. So, how to transform this guest into a speaking machine?

Yes/No Questions are Poor

This is too obvious yet essential. Y/N questions take only one word to answer. You can still use this type of question, but make sure you have had a proper ‘warm-up’ before so that a conversation is going on pretty smoothly.

Why, What, How

These three question words are your best friends. They provoke your guest to tell the whole story instead of a few words. They are good conversation starters as well. Use them a lot to get more information from your interlocutor, but remember – they are not an ultimate all-in-one ice breaker.

Be an Active Listener

You are not listening to a scientific dissertation. Be active. React to their words immediately. ‘Oh!’, ‘Wow!’, ‘Great!’, ‘Cool!’, ‘Impressive!’, ‘Really?’, etc. All these little exclamations contain a lot of emotional power, which is meant to show interest.

For a shy guy, it is very easy to confuse friendly conversation and interrogation. To help them relax, show that you like them and you are proud of having this conversation. Besides, it would be great to repeat their last sentences in shorter forms. And the most important – digging out new things by asking your guest about more details on their statements. This will make the conversation flow and show your deep interest.

Being involved is also great for your reputation. The listeners feel that your show is dynamic, the conversation flow is intense, full, and emotional.

What to Ask about?

People love to talk about themselves and the things they love. They would love to tell you a story if you show them sincere interest. Ask about their opinion and feelings about different things. Because this is what the audience likes to find out – personal details. They can find facts and numbers on Wikipedia.

It is very important to appeal to feelings because a conversation about facts only is not that interesting and engaging at all. Being on the emotional side helps to relax and trust. Emotional speech is easy-to-comprehend as well.

Private Space

Don’t forget about privacy. There are things they would like to talk about and vice versa. Dark episodes from the past as well as a broken relationship, friendship, partnership, and failed projects are forbidden to talk about. Quickly mention them without digging in.

Questions that are far from the conversation topic are not a good idea, too. They confuse your guests and make the conversation lead to nowhere. Also, they are not interesting for the audience.


Ask about the things they love. Use ‘What’, ‘Why’, ‘How’ to get more information, and be an active listener. All these rules are important to follow. Interesting questions help to begin the conversation, and active listening keeps it up.

If you truly want to become an amazing conversationalist, ‘How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere’ by Larry King should take the first place on your reading list. This book is an absolute must for everyone who has to cope with speaking in public. It contains a lot of simple tricks and rules and truly helps to talk to anyone about everything.

That’s all for today. Hope this small article will help you out during your next dialogue on the air.


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