Guest Preparation for The Annex

This post gives tips for preparing to be a guest on The Annex Sociology Podcast.


We record our episodes using an online recording platform called Squadcast. It is a Skype-like platform that records audio over separate channels, which makes the discussion easier to produce well.

To use this platform you need:

  • An Internet-connected personal computer
  • Headphones
  • A microphone
  • A quiet room

Generally, guests can use the integrated microphone on their computer’s webcam. However, the sound quality of your voice will be similar to what it sounds like on the other end of a Skype chat or phone call.

If you want clearer audio for this or any other podcast interview, I recommend a USB microphone (either standalone or integrated into a headset), which records closer to your mouth and comes in cleaner. They are very inexpensive, and often your department or school’s A/V office can set you up with something.


Our show presents informal conversations about sociology research and the sociology business. Our intended audience is other academics. We strive for a chat-at-the-watercooler kind of dynamic, rather than a conference presentation one.

In general, we are interested in discussions involving first-person accounts of the development, execution, and reaction to social science research projects. We will usually ask questions about the study’s design, main findings, and implications. It’s probably helpful to refresh yourself on your study, what motivated you to pursue it, your reactions and impressions from the experience of researching, and maybe some fun anecdotes.

When preparing to be on our podcast, remember two things:

First, this is not a live presentation. Instead, we are producing the raw audio from which a more polished program can be produced. So there is less pressure than something like a plenary session speech. For our show, the differences are generally minimal, but keep in mind: If you make a mistake, we can delete it. If you stumble over your words, you can always start over. If you need to look something up, we can pause recording. If someone asks you a question that you don’t like, just say so.

Second, our format is conversational. I personally find it very difficult to script these interactions. If pressed to give advise to those who want to prepare the precise wording of what they are going to say, I recommend preparing 10 – 20 second quips that you can insert if the occasion arises. In my view, the best approach is to figure out which pieces of information that you wish to transmit in the conversation (or, if you are a host, which questions you want the guest to answer). Jot them down as bullet points and have them on hand.

If you want us to ask a particular question, let us know. We want your “A” material!

Recording Day

We will send you a Google Calendar invitation when scheduling our appointment. Then, a few days in advance, we will send you a reminder and ask you to circulate any written material that you want us to engage in our discussion.

On recording day, all the show’s participants will be sent a group email, in which we confirm recording and, in some cases, pitch ideas for additional banter sessions. You are welcome to raise any topic as a potential banter item, particularly items that touch upon professional-related concerns that shared by our listeners.

About 30 minutes before recording time, our session will go live. You can log in early if you want to talk about your interview.

More Questions?

If you are a scheduled or prospective guest with more questions, please email me. Otherwise, feel free to post comments, advise or questions below.

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