KL: How did you prep for those? I mean, you were feeling maybe a little bit intimidated or a little bit wary. Obviously everyone's on board, and they're interested in doing the interview. It's not like you had to chase people down, right? But, how did you prepare for the interviews? Was there something that you did to get comfortable? I know whenever I do an interview, I try to get familiar with the person, but not over-prepared. You just want it to sound like a conversation, right? So, how did you get ready? Other than having an almost-meltdown on spring break? How did you prep for the conversations?
SP: You know, it's funny you should say that, because I have thought to myself that I think I over-prepared a little bit. While I was doing this, that was the one thing that I felt like I could control. It was like, okay, I can't control necessarily what happens in the interview; but, I can control how prepared I am. So, I read everything.
KL: You think you can control it.
SP: Exactly. I was up to my knees in YouTube videos — and, of course listening to their podcast. That's a necessary thing, which I wanted to do anyway, of course, if I hadn't listened to every episode. Then I would write down my questions, though, especially towards the end I wasn't always looking at my questions. That felt like a security blanket.
I will say that a lot of the people that I have talked to, even people that I interviewed on this podcast, said they write down their questions. I think Jessi Hempel said she writes down her questions because that helps her think through what she's going to ask, but then she never looks at them during the interview.
I'm probably not quite at that stage where I don't look at them at all, but I did get comfortable with it — more comfortable with it toward the end. It's this fine line where you want to be prepared, but you don't want to feel rehearsed. And, you want there to be surprises in the discussion — things you didn't know.
SP: That's the whole point. And, I also think that there's a different dynamic when you go into an interview, and you're looking at your questions versus going into an interview and just knowing, trusting your own curiosity. I think I might be stealing those words directly from something that Jessi said to me. Trusting your own instincts. You are genuinely interested in this person. If you're not interested in them, don't interview them.
KL: Right. Why are you interviewing them if you're not interested?
SP: Yeah, why are you interviewing them? So, I definitely only brought people onto the podcast who I knew I would be excited to talk to anyway. Hopefully, that comes through.