David Goad has more than 30 years of experience in corporate marketing, speaking, on-camera hosting, and video production experience in the tech industry. He also has coached countless executives on how to be credible and effective when interviewed on camera or microphone. He has been a talk show host for companies like Cisco and ServiceNow and is a seasoned workshop facilitator who believes it's possible to conduct riveting virtual meetings.  

In this episode, we talk about becoming a memorable host and guest, the common mistakes to avoid, and tips on preparing to be an exceptional panelist.  

Avoiding the Common Mistakes

David shares with us the most common mistakes to look out for on any show or panel. The first thing he mentions is being predictable and ordinary. The second is not being as prepared as you should be. He recommends doing some audience and host research before anything. He tells us that even asking to speak to a couple of audience members beforehand could give you stories and more relevant content ideas to share. “Don’t be boring, don’t be predictable, and don’t be fake,” he says in conclusion.   

One of the most common mistakes he points out is saying “Hey, great question” when trying to buy time for yourself to answer. It is a cliché and does not add or mean anything. Instead, David suggests paraphrasing the question and change the language just a little bit, then wait for the host to expand on the question a bit. It is buying you time while also improving the conversation.  

Similarly, when you are the host and you do not have any more questions, but you want the guest to keep going – you can repeat the last four words the guest said with a question intonation and wait. This is a cue for the guest to expand on his answer and keep the conversation going and adds more depth to it.  

Fireside Chats vs. Panels

Another topic that we discuss with David is panels and fireside chats and the differences between them. Fireside chats create a very comfortable environment with usually having slouching chairs that feel like beanbags. David says that he usually asks for a bar stool or a backless chair that would force him to keep a good posture, as the slouching chairs diminish that.  

In general, he says that sitting down even on your desk chair, hunching over, and having your hands on the desk – you do not get as much air as and your voice is not as strong and credible. You should stand up more because your voice sounds more convincing, and you naturally gesture more. It gives you more energy and this is important on many occasions like in podcasts or radio where the voice drives the experience. 

David explains that a panel means that you are with two or more people on stage or together on a webinar, where you share time in a conversation with them. He, even more in this situation, suggests researching the audience and connecting with the other guests beforehand. 

Hardball Questions and Organic Interviews

For interviews, David shares that he sometimes prepares the questions himself and gives them to the host, or at least, he gives one hardball question for the host to ask him. It helps steer the conversation in a direction that is interesting and still organized.  

Sometimes people do not prepare or want to give you any questions beforehand, because they want a very organic interview, but a partial list with bullet points only could do the job perfectly. You can blend a little bit of preparation and organic questions as you do not want the person to feel like they’re reading a script. If you need to memorize anything, David advises rehearsing only the beginning and the end of your presentation.  

It is also important to have some little stories ready. You can give data and you can bring the data to life with a story. Illustrating it well is something that the audience responds to, as they easily remember stories more than anything else. 

Virtual Speaking

For virtual speaking, David suggests speaking up 10% louder and using variety in your voice as it helps keep the ear interested. For video, he advises making eye contact with the camera and emphasizing voice and facial expressions. For overall improvement, David says that even a small microphone or camera upgrade makes a huge difference. He also adds a little ring light for greater quality for virtual speaking.  


Connect with David Goad on his LinkedIn or his website.

Listen to the full episode!