Ep 192: How to Be an Amazing Show Host with Ken Coleman



Any good show host knows that to conduct a great interview, your number one priority needs to be the guest and the audience, not yourself.

On today’s episode of the Influential Personal Brand podcast, we get together with consummate interviewer, Ken Coleman, host of The Ken Coleman Show, to talk about the interviews he’s conducted with highly accomplished individuals like George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, as well as the skills and lessons he’s learned from taking almost 5,000 live calls live on air.

In this conversation, we discuss his show’s philosophy that every individual has a unique purpose in how they contribute to society and the profound impact this belief has had on his work.

We hear from Ken about how he gets to the heart of his callers’ problems in the short span of six minutes while still being entertaining and engaging to his audience, why he is not intimidated by the accomplished figures he has interviewed, and why intense preparation leads to reflexive performance.

He also explains some of the key questions interviewers need to ask themselves while preparing and why thorough research is so important.

Join us today for an informative episode full of wisdom and practical tips on the art of interviewing!


  • Introducing today’s guest, Ken Coleman, host of The Ken Coleman Show.
  • Ken’s philosophy that everyone was born to contribute in some unique way.
  • How The Ken Coleman show is structured to help callers in a very short amount of time.
  • The live nature of Ken’s show and how that is unique to his podcast.
  • The skill of listening to how your caller is saying something, not just what they are saying.
  • Why Ken describes himself as being in the “heart business.”
  • What he has learned from taking almost 5,000 calls on the air.
  • Understanding how thoughts and feelings need to be aligned when making decisions.
  • How Ken identifies the core issue a caller is facing; listening and asking the right questions.
  • The power of being honest with your caller, even if it involves conflict.
  • How intense preparation allows Ken not to be intimidated by his guests.
  • Why intense preparation leads to reflexive performance.
  • Why a good interviewer needs to have a comprehensive understanding of what the audience wants to gain from a particular interview.
  • Questions that interviewers need to ask themselves about their audience.
  • Why Ken writes his last question first and his first question second during his preparation.
  • How you can connect to your interviewee by asking a significant question about something they are passionate about.
  • Ken shares his favorite question he’s ever asked a guest and their response.


“Reality is based on this premise – we believe that everybody, every man or woman was created to fill a unique role in their work.” — @KenColeman [0:04:07]

“If you really want to grow as a thought leader and as a content provider, put yourself on the high wire of taking calls, live, with no previous knowledge.” — @KenColeman [0:09:02]

“I’ve said this many times: relentless preparation leads to reflexive performance.” — @KenColeman [0:21:08]

“One of the mistakes that a lot of people make is they get up there and have a general idea [of] where they want to go, but they haven’t really thought through the process. They haven’t thought through the journey.” — @KenColeman [0:23:26]

“A great interviewer makes the interview about the guest. Because they’re so smooth, so prepared, and leading somebody, not just the audience, but the guests. You’re leading the audience and the guests at the same time.” — @KenColeman [0:30:23]


Ken is America’s Career Coach, the #1 bestselling author of The Proximity Principle and host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Ken Coleman Show.

Every weekday, he helps callers discover what they do best so they can do work they love and produce the results that matter most to them.

Whether you’re looking for a complete career change or you’re just unsure about what step to take next, Ken Coleman will help you get unstuck and on the path to doing meaningful work. 


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RV (00:02): Well, long before Ken Coleman was a Dave Ramsey personality. He and I were friends. He hosted a talk show in Atlanta and my appearing on his show as a regular guest was one of my first ever gigs like a regular recurring guest. And it’s amazing to see how Ken’s career has grown. He truly is like one of America’s number one, you know, like the number one career coach or one of the top career coaches, he is the bestselling author of a book called the proximity principle. And he hosts a nationally syndicated radio show now called the Ken Coleman show. And so he has been hosting. He also has, you know, he hosted the, the Rams, a YouTube channel. Now he has his own YouTube show. He hosts a lot of the events for entree leadership, the summit master series and all of these different events that they do. And he’s just an amazing guy and it’s been awesome to see how his career has evolved. His personal brand, at least, you know, as, as I perceive, it is really around helping people find purpose at work. And, and, you know, he’s got a new book coming out later this fall or around seven seven stages for how, how to really do that. And so anyways, I’m excited to bring Ken to the show. You haven’t talked to him in a while, buddy. It’s good to see you. KC (01:30): Good to see you. I feel like you couldn’t be any more of a beautiful serene setting behind you. There is. That is that real people need to know RV (01:39): It is that’s our, that is our back. That’s our backyard. KC (01:42): You have to finish the interview by running out and jumping in the pool so that we can see that that would be great. RV (01:47): So here’s the thing. So that’s the backyard, but I am in the basement. So it is a picture. It is, it is actually, it is a picture of the backyard. And then we just put it on a green screen. So it’s a little bit Speaker 3 (02:03): Magic of show business. I love it. Let me feel like I’m outside because I’m seeing it behind me, but I love it. So, RV (02:11): Buddy, can you just kind of catch us up on I mean, I thought it would be fun to talk to you specifically one, cause we’ve just been friends for years, but about hosting specifically. And I know you know, I was with Dave a couple of weeks ago. He told me that you had the interview with George W. Bush coming up. I know that you’ve done thousands of interviews on some of the biggest stages in the world. And and, and tell me about like the, tell me about the Ken Coleman show. Like what’s going on with what’s going on with that, where where’s it at now? KC (02:45): Yeah, so it’s very exciting. We’re now approaching 80 stations in national syndication. That’s just traditional talk radio. We’re also on Sirius XM live each day, Monday through Friday, I lead into the Dave Ramsey show. Of course we podcast that each day. So we have a daily podcast and because it is a, in my mind, it’ll always be, I’m an old school radio guy. So to me, it’s a radio show first, you know, now podcasts has become a part of our nomenclature, you know, in the United States for sure, and around the world. And so we take that live radio show and we, we put it out as a podcast because it is a color driven show. I do teach each day and give out great, you know, personal growth content and relevant data and stuff. That’s in the news that affects people that are trying to work on purpose and do what they were created to do, to make the contribution that they were created to make. KC (03:42): But we, you know, we do it on YouTube as well. So we have a different format on YouTube for that YouTube Bonnie’s cause it’s very different viewer and engagement habits there. So we’re all the platforms. But simply put, we are helping people discover what they were created to do, and then come up with a plan to make that purpose in your work or reality is based on this premise. We believe that everybody, every man and woman was created to fill a unique role in their work, that means that they are needed and it means they need to do it because somebody out there is relying on them, needs them to show up and be their best. There is a view of work. Roy, you know, this, there’s a view of work. That is, that is this cultural view that says that I work to live. KC (04:31): In other words, I work to get a paycheck. And then that paycheck allows me to take care of my basic needs. If there’s a little bit left over, we can make some memories with it. And so that’s pretty much the dominant view of work in the world. And I’m trying to put on a different set of glasses for people and say that you live to work. Now when some people hear that they’re like, Ooh, gross, right? That’s workoholism, it’s your identity. They’re all in place. Now what that means is, is that you were in fact created. I just believe that. So whether you’re a person of faith or not, I wouldn’t argue with anybody for two seconds over that, but I would say that you were created to work. If I substitute the word workout and put contribute, then it go, the yuckiness goes away and somebody goes, oh, that’s right. KC (05:22): Created to contribute. See, because the most confused person I’ve ever talked to on the phone or in person would say, can, I don’t know what I want to do. I just want to help people. Right? Most confused person will say that Y Aurora, you know, this, you’re a student of personal growth. You understand this. We all long to make a difference. We can just say it simply as that. So when we say created a contribute, created a work, I don’t think you can separate who you are personally from who you’re supposed to be professionally, meaning your worth is not in how you make your worth is not in your accolades, but, but you, but you get tremendous significance out of the contribution you make in work. So that’s the overriding philosophy of the Ken Coleman show. And so that’s what we’re doing. KC (06:10): We’ve got people that are calling in who don’t know what they want to do with their life. We’ve got people that are calling in that know what they want to do, but they don’t know how to get there. We’ve got people who call it, know what they want to do. They know how to get there and Roy, but they won’t do it because they’re scared to death. I get that too. Or they’re held back by financial or relationship issues. And then we have people who are on the path and they’re just trying to get promoted. They want to move up the ladder. They want that next wrong. And so I’m, I’m their coach. Well it starts out every phone call and the counselor first. Then I put on the coach hat and then I put on the cheerleader hat. RV (06:43): So I want to talk about that for a second because working with callers you know, when, when I think of hosting, there’s kind of two things I want to, hopefully we can get into one is working with callers. The other is preparing for like expert interviews, so to speak. But on the, on the working with callers which also could be, you know, in a live audience, you know, you’re engaging from stage with somebody, somebody out in the seats. It’s a, it’s a real skill set. And what’s amazing about terrestrial radio. Like I remember when I used to host a terrestrial radio show way back in the day, it’s such a short time, like you only have, how long is it? How long is an entire segment with with a guest? You don’t ask that a few minutes, right? KC (07:26): Yeah. Well, you you’re traditionally in an hour, you’re most radio clocks. You’re going to have at most an eight to 10 minute segment. So you might have a couple of eight minutes segments and you might have one 10 minute segment, but but yeah. And, and then you got at most, you know, six minutes with somebody you’re right. I mean, you have to, you have to, RV (07:48): That’s so hard. I mean, coaching calls usually are like an hour. I mean, and you’re having to do it in six minutes. So like, what are some of the, what are what’s some of your thought process? Because well, in, in, in, in, in here’s the, here’s the other thing that I’m, that I’m thinking about with you, right? Like, like I’m going, when you’re on a radio show, you’re trying to listen to the caller, you’re trying to get to the point, you’re trying to help them. And you’re also trying to make it quasi entertaining for the people who are listening in on the conversation. Like, how do you, what’s going on in your head when you’re working with a color like that? Yeah. That’s a really KC (08:31): Good question. And the reason that question is so good is because you can’t focus on those last two things. Oh, those last two things happen organically, which was well, so, so you got, so you got to coach them quickly, but you also got to be caused by entertaining. So it starts with though you got to listen to the caller. So you said, listen to the caller, give them the advice, coach them, but also make it quasi entertaining. Right? Right. That’s the way you worded it. So it starts with, you’ve got to really, really listen. And I’ve got the benefit of a call screener. So, you know, you get some of your clients who are thinking, Hey, maybe I want to do a call and podcast because what makes our show unique in the space that we’re in is that I’m one of the few, if, if only that are dominated by real live calls and by the way, not knocking anybody who does it this way. KC (09:20): Cause for some of your clients, it probably would be good to have somebody call them ahead of time, get some type of a worksheet and figure out what the issue is. Then they schedule a call to me. I think that’s cheating. If you really want to grow, you really want to grow as a thought leader. And as a content provider, put yourself on the high wire of taking calls live with no previous knowledge. So all I have when I’m taking a live call is I’ll see will from Kalamazoo, Michigan. And I’ll have one line that my associate producer will kind of say general direction of the call got two job opportunities deciding that’s all I know. And so what happens is, is I must listen. And now I’ve got a call screener who coaches that caller who’s nervous because it’s live right. And it’s a national show. KC (10:08): So coaches indigo get to your question pretty quickly. Be super specific. Ken will take over from there. So when they call in you, you have to listen. Not so much as to what they’re saying, but how they’re saying, like, so you, you can’t just listen to the question. Hey, Ken I got two job opportunities, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I need your help. You listen for their emotion. You listen for little clues and this happens over time. You don’t get this right away, but over time you realize that basically you’re getting the same five to seven questions every day. Just details. Details are different. And so what happens is you must listen. What is the real question? They may ask me this question, but they’re really asking me this question. Okay. So an example would be, instead of them, they’re not asking me they’re really not asking me which job they should take. KC (11:09): What they’re really asking me is, am I an idiot for wanting to take this other job because it’s less money. But it’s gonna eventually get where I want to go. The other one is on paper. It’s just a much better job. But this one over here, the heart’s telling me it’s right, is get the best payoff, little bit of risk. You see what I’m saying? So the question behind the question. So when I’m listening to the question, I’m trying to figure out what are they really asking? And many times I’ll just come right at him and go, well, what’s going on here? And so my job is to respond quickly with a scalpel. And the scalpel is the question. And from years and years and years of doing expert interviews with big name people and all this kind of stuff, and trying to develop conversation for an audience to get something from I’ve learned how to ask a question that goes about three levels deeper. KC (12:00): So the magic is listening for the real question, the emotion, the challenge, the desire, that’s what you’re listening for. And then you ask questions to get deeper to that and uncover it, not just for the caller to now answer your question full circle, but to uncover it for the listening audience and when the listening audience sees and hears that happening, it’s the theater of the mind because it’s radio or podcasts. So they’re picturing what I look like, the picture and what that person looks like. You can’t help it. And so that becomes entertaining when you uncover somebody and turn somebody’s light bulb on that’s entertaining as hell, RV (12:37): Man. So you’re just so basically it’s just, you’re focused on serving that one person and by virtue of doing that, it’ll be entertaining and engaging for the, for the listener. I like that. So that’s, that’s let me KC (12:50): Add one thing to that. You must serve the caller, but in serving the caller, you’re talking to the general audience too. You see what I’m saying? You’re taking, so I’m answering Will’s question, but as I’m teaching, I’m going and folks, Will’s not the only one, some of you out there right now are feeling the same way you drop in little moments like that. So it goes from Will’s application to their situation. They apply it, however they would, but they’re voyeuristically engaging, and that is entertaining to people. RV (13:21): Huh. And so you actually will step you’ll use language that kind of steps out of the conversation with you and will to kind of connect to the listener KC (13:29): And say yeah, sometimes I’ll apply it to everybody, but other times I’m just going to go deep with will and I’m going to go, will you feeling doubt? Why, what are you doubting? And by going really deep with him, everybody else in the audience, that’s listening to us, dealing with some doubt, they totally apply it to them. RV (13:46): So, so how do you go deep in six minutes? Like, so you KC (13:51): Have to listen to it. And I mean, I know you’re a busy guy, but you’d have to listen to it to really break that down the way I do it is again, I’m approaching 5,000 calls now in four years, live on the air. And so the repetitions, I know what I’m hearing. I, I mean, within 30 seconds, I usually know what’s really going on. And so your diamond did it dig, dig with questions and it seems RV (14:16): Like you’re really driving towards the emotion. Almost like it’s, it’s going, they’re asking whatever they’re asking. But the real issue is how are they feeling underneath the surface? And if you can, if you can get, if you can get them to open up about the emotions that they’re feeling, then we’re having a meaningful conversation. I must uncover their heart. KC (14:40): I’m all about uncovering their heart. I mean, I joke around with my wife about this, you know, but I don’t say this often publicly because it could sound cheesy, but I I’m in the business. I had a lady call today and she had two options. One was stay where she currently is where she’s crying once or twice a week. At the end of the day, she’s killing it. She’s making 180 grand. She’s really good at it. Loves the people there, but the job is stressing her out. She’s on the verge of burnout. And then she’s got this other opportunity where she’ll make 150 it’ll keep her on the same career path, keep her on the ladder. But it’s gonna be way less stressful. She may make 30 grand less and she’s called me. And instead of me telling her what I think, I just walk her through a series of questions and I get her to tell me, I said, I know what you should do cause I can hear it. KC (15:29): But I want you to tell us what are you leaning towards? Because I think your head’s telling you one thing and your heart’s telling you another is that right? And she goes, she starts giggling. And I’ve, I’ve had that call a hundred times where it’s a wrestling match between the head and the heart. So, but I got to get the color to tell me the voice of the head and then the voice of the heart. And then I go, before you called me, which way were you leaning? And she said, kid, I was 75%, one way, 75%. The other way I said, that’s impossible. She starts laughing again. I said, what’s your heart telling you to do? She goes, take the other job. And I go, what did you think I was going to say, she goes, you were going to tell me to follow my heart. She’s going to listen to my show long enough to know what I’m going to tell her, see the heart and the head should be in alignment, but it should always be the heart driving and the head joining. RV (16:21): And did I hear you say that you want them, there’s this wrestling match of the head and the heart and you want them to speak out both. What’s your head telling you and what’s your heart telling you? You try to get them to say them both out loud. KC (16:37): Absolutely do. And that’s for the audience. They think it’s for them, but it’s really audience because I want the audience to catch up and, and, and not just to follow along, but to see the exercise itself because that’s what we need to do. You and I have both been in a situations where we’ve been torn and we’ll speak to somebody that we know and we trust. And they’ll just however they do it. Maybe not as intentional as that, but they get us to that point where we go, I got to trust my heart here. My heart’s telling me this. I’m overthinking it up here. This is what the heart says is right. I’m going to go do it. And so then my head gets in alignment, but the problem is our brains are these logic machines. And that’s a wonderful thing from our creator, the greatest logic processor in the world, the greatest supercomputer of all times the brain. KC (17:22): But the problem is, is that I’ve been relearning this you and I’ve grown up in a world that kind of says our thoughts drive our feelings. I’m now totally reversing that and rethinking that and relearning that it’s our emotions that drive our thoughts. So when I have the emotion of fear, then my thoughts are going to all be about fear. And that drives my actions. So I’ve got to get my heart settled. And when I get my emotions in heart settled, then I can think better. And that’s, that’s that alignment. So when we’re talking about doing something that you love, these people call, they know ahead of time, they just want me to give them permission, right? Yep. Anyway, I just did with lots of questions. You’d be surprised how quick you can get to the hardest something with about the first of all, a really good question. KC (18:12): And then when somebody starts talking around it, see it’s my show and I’m in charge. So we’re all polite, real life. I’ll just stop and go stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. You didn’t answer my question. Let me ask it again. I’ve had people say kid. I say, what, what would you do? If, if, if money wasn’t an object and you couldn’t fail and you didn’t have to commit to the rest of your life, what would you do? I don’t know. I don’t remember the first time I did this almost threw up on my desk. It was in a moment. Okay. It was very Tony Robbins. I’ve watched Tony. I’ve studied Tony. And I remember the first time somebody said that to me and I let them right to the edge and they went, I don’t know. And in that moment I was like, okay, I can redirect, give them some advice and put them on hold and move on. KC (18:54): And in the moment were, I just went. That’s not true. You know, because while I was setting you up, but I’m going to do it again so that you can hear yourself one more time. I want you to see the thoughts. I asked you. If you could do something tomorrow where you knew you couldn’t fail, you absolutely loved it. And you have to commit to the rest of your life. What would you do? And I know that while I said that the second time, the same thought that you came up with the first time rolled through your head, you couldn’t help it. It popped up. And you’re not telling me because you’re scared or you’re doubtful now. No more excuses say it. And dude, I was totally terrified. I was like, if, if this person locks up on me, I don’t have a place to return to. KC (19:36): And would you believe it? That they said it blurted it out? Just like that. Now I’ve done that many, many times because here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that when I create that vision for people, those word pictures, right? I say, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? What would you do if you knew you’d love it? What would you do if you didn’t, you have to commit to it. It’s just as fun work adventure, like no risk. It’s impossible for a human. Not to have some thoughts. All I’m doing is taking them on a little journey. And so you got to trust that the thoughts are there and then you gotta make them say it. RV (20:11): Yeah. I remember when I was getting radio Koshin they used to call that the slap where you kind of confront, you kind of can respond to the call or directly and kind of go, no, you’re not being honest. You’re like, there’s a, there’s something very powerful about that kind of moment of conflict where you, you force them to reconcile the truth that they’re like you said, they’re so afraid. They can’t even say it. That’s powerful. So let’s shift the conversation. That’s awesome, man. I love this. So I want to shift the conversation to the expert. I mean, you got to interview George Bush. Like it’s gotta be a little bit intimidating. I mean, I, I know, I mean, at this point, I know you’ve interviewed so many people, the different podcasts that you’ve hosted, the different radio shows and stuff. How do you prepare for an interview with, KC (21:09): You know? Yeah. All right. So I want to address the first thing. And, and when I, when I give you, I’m going to give you all my secret sauce, all right? I’m not, I can charge a lot of money for this, but I’m not intimidated. And there’s two reasons why I’m not intimidated. One is preparation and two is experience. Preparation is everything. And I’m about ready to give you the secret sauce of how I prepare an interview like this, to do it in front of thousands of people. Plus, you know, a former head of state, but I’ve said this many times, relentless preparation leads to reflexive performance. I’m going to say it again. Don’t you? Any of you steal that because I see it on social. I’m going to bust you. Relentless preparation leads to reflexive performance. The reason the great quarterbacks like Tom Brady or Bret farmer, John Elway Joe Montana, you could plug in the names, Dan Marino, we Marvel at how they can lead a team from the one yard line down to a touchdown with less than a minute, less than two minutes to go. KC (22:08): No time outs. We Marvel at that. Except what we fail to think about is they’ve practiced that two minute drill hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times. Number one, number two, they’ve watched film. They know what the other team’s two-minute defense looks like. They know their place. They know wherever it’s supposed to go. So when they’re out there, they’re moving on instinct. Brett Farve is not this chess player out there. All of a sudden where he’s out thinking everybody know he’s instinctively reacting. He knows where his primary, secondary, third check downs. He knows he’s done it. And he knows how to get out of bounds. You know the thing. So these guys they’re relentlessly prepared so that they can reflexively perform. There’s no brain going on out there. It’s just all instinct. All right. So that’s the first thing. Secondly the experience that I’ve had, I’ve done so many interviews that at this point, while I’m honored to sit across from George W. Bush or Condoleezza rice, or Mark Burnett, or you name it. Okay. Jim Collins, Malcolm Gladwell, whatever those RV (23:12): It’s true. You got to interview Rory Vaden one time for like, that’s it, man, KC (23:17): That’s it? So the issue is, is that they’re experts in their bigger deal than me, for sure. But they’re still a human being. And in that moment, for whatever reason, they’ve submitted to a conversation with me. So I’m in charge. So I might as well act like I’m in charge because I’m in charge. Now how much charge I take is up to me. So I’ve learned that they’re just a human and they’re sitting there and most of them have never been interviewed really, really well. So if you really prepare, use the process, I’m about ready to unveil. Then you’re going to find that they’re going, this is enjoyable. This dude, this gal, they came prepared. They’re teasing me up. This is enjoyable. All right. So here’s the process. First thing I do, there are questions that I ask before I write the interview and writing the interview is the most important part of the interview. KC (24:07): One of the mistakes that a lot of people make is they get up there and have a general idea where they want to go, but they haven’t really thought through the process. They haven’t thought through the journey. They’re taking the audience on, because remember this isn’t about you as the interviewer, okay? Some of your clients are big brands and they become known as interviewers, big freaking deal. Okay? It’s not about you. It’s about the audience. And if you want to get praised for being an interviewer, well, you’re only going to do that when you generate and produce a great conversation. So most people get into this stuff and they’re kind of prepared and then they get nervous or they get caught up in the moment. Oh gosh, I’m talking to Georgia, a Bush and they get tongue tied. They don’t know where to go. KC (24:48): Or he takes them one direction. And they’re too busy looking at their next question, cause they’re not prepared. And they miss a nugget. That should be a rabbit trail that you go down. Hmm. The best part of of interviews are the parts you don’t plan. But the only way you can discover that, realize it in the moment Roy is because you’re so prepared that you can listen to the full answer. And when George Abbey gets George, w Bush gets done, you go, oh, here’s my next question. It’s right there. I’m already prepared. I glance at it. And I go, so here’s the process. First thing you do before you write the interview, you ask yourself, what does the audience want to know? That’s the first question. What does the audience want you to think about your audience? If you have a podcast or you’re at a leadership event, like I was at a leadership event, there’s 3000 leaders out there. KC (25:38): So what does the audience want to know? They have come to this event and what they want to know is something that will help them lead better. Right? You can just general as you want to make it. What do they want to know? Second question is, what do they need to know? Now? This is where we get more specific. So what does the audience want to know? Well, they want to know how to be a better leader, right? How to grow their company, whatever. What do they need to know? Well, now this is where you, as the interview, get a chance to shape the conversation to go. They want to be a better leader. They want to grow their company. So what do they need to be able to do that? Right? So if somebody comes in and they want to lose weight and they meet with a nutritionist and Tricia goes, okay, they want to lose weight or they want to get a, they want to lower their blood, blood cholesterol, whatever. KC (26:24): Well, okay. Now what do they need to know to be able to achieve the one? Okay. So that’s the, so you start writing these things down. Well, they need to know about leading in crisis. They need to know how to lead in collaboration. They need to know how to lead in conflict. Okay. Those are three separate buckets right there that I just went, oh, that’s what they need to know. Well, I’ve got a president of United States who can speak to those things. And that leads to your third question. What can my guest, through their experience and expertise? How can they meet those two needs? What they want to know and what they need to know. So what does the audience want to know? What do they need to know? And then, well, how can my guest meet those two needs? That’s where you start. And so what that starts to do is give you themes, conflict, collaboration, crisis, whatever. KC (27:13): So you start to get these themes and go, okay. Again, some themes. I’m just writing this stuff down on the paper. This is what I do core Rory, I’m sorry. I don’t know why I keep calling you. Corey. I just got with a marketing guy named Corey in our billing. It’s a Freudian slip. So, so I’m writing all this down, all these topics. So once I get my bank of topics, then I say, what’s the last question I want to ask. So I write the very last question first, right? First, first question I write is the last question. Why do you know why I do that? What do you think it is? What’s the reason. Hm. RV (27:50): I don’t know. Maybe that’s just what they’re going to remember. KC (27:52): Well, that’s where we’re ending. So, you know, it’s how you close a talk. So I want to know, where am I taking the audience? So this is what most interviews never do. That’s why you weren’t able to answer. I put you on the spot because I don’t know anybody that thinks this way, but it works for me because I want to know, where am I taking the audience at the end of an hour conversation with George W. Bush, where am I taking them? Where are we going to finish? So once I know where I’m going to finish, that’s the story arc. So now I go, where do I want to start? And then what’s the rest of the journey looked like that takes me here. Or else you’re just going to have this Papa shot style interview where it’s not connected. I like for the interview to start here and make sense organically as it gets to the end point where I’m leaving the audience. KC (28:45): This is the final word they’re going to hear from this guest. And I think that’s the way you write a good interview. So I write the last question first. Then I write the first question. Second, I’ll give you some more tips on this. I always try to ask a icebreaker, very personal question. That could be fun or a very significant to them personally, early on. The reason I like to do that is because if you really do your homework and you dig deep and you ask them a question from their past, that’s very significant to them. Number one, you unlock their heart in the first question. They’re like, oh yeah. So the first question I asked Condoleezza rice, okay. This is the most decorated woman, arguably in us history. Okay. besides vice president Harris, who’s now the first female president. So, you know, Condoleeza, rice, big time, big time. KC (29:37): And most people don’t realize that she was competitive ice skater when she was in her early teens. So the first question I asked her was about ice skating. Most people in the audience were like, what where’s he going with this? She lit up big smile on her face, started talking about all the hours, why she loved it. And so I introduced a different Condi rice to the audience, number one, but more importantly, I established rapport with her. Cause she’s looking at me going, all right, man, you did your homework. You showed up, you, you know something about me. You’re not asking me the general question. And so she w she leaned in, she warmed up to me. We had rapport and Mrs. Thing, I think thing I did with George W. Bush, I started the interview, will my publicist sitting here. I started off by going, Hey, before we start talking leadership tell us what you’re up to now. KC (30:26): I knew he was going to talk about painting. Cause he just released his third pamphlet. I knew it was going to ask him about painting his wife, Laura. Cause he’s got a hilarious story on it. And so our first five minutes was hilarious. I’m talking about learning how to paint and paint and his wife and she hated it and making sure he threw it away. And the audience was roaring with laughter and he and I are having a blast. And I haven’t even asked him a leadership question yet, but I had established rapport. So that’s, you know, that’s my process. That’s a little bit of how I get into it so that people feel like they’re eavesdropping in on a real conversation. Then it’s no longer, I can’t believe Ken Coleman’s up there talking to George W. Bush. People are largely ignoring me because I’m not hemming and hawing over my question. I’m this guy who’s having the time of his life having a conversation and you’re getting a watch me do it. You’re not even focused on me. You’re focused on the present, which is what should be a great interviewer makes the interview about the guests because they’re so smooth, so prepared and leading somebody, not just the audience, but the guests you’re leading the audience and the guests at the same time. RV (31:40): Love it. That is, those are that’s so great. Can like that is I really love that idea of asking, writing the last question first and just realizing no matter how this goes, that we need to end up here. And and that is so true when people share an intimate detail about their life. It, it opens, it’s just, it’s disarming, it knocks down walls and it creates the rapport. So powerful. Well, man, I, I, I knew that you would have secrets on how to do these interviews and you’ve been so generous and this is so helpful. Where do people, where do you want people to go to learn about you? And I mean, obviously you’ve got the Ken Coleman show, we’ll put links to the proximity principle book on on our blog post about this. Where else would you, would you direct people? KC (32:30): I’d love your audience to connect with me on Instagram at Ken Coleman. If I can ever add any value to your audience, I love what you’re doing. I love connecting with other influencers and best practices and encouraging each other. Ken coleman.com is the website where you can learn anything and get connected with anything I’m doing. And of course the Ken Coleman show, you know, if you want to learn how to dig into people’s hearts in six or seven minutes, give it a listen. It’s a daily podcast. And once you get tired of it, you don’t have to listen to it anymore, but you can steal some trade secrets and, and listen, it’s just cuts at the plate, man. You know, it’s just, it’s just being willing to suck and put yourself out there and learn how to do that. And it, over time you, you get really good at it. If you just keep showing up. RV (33:21): Yeah. Well for sure, I mean, you you’ve been, you’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s great to see you growing what’s what’s your favorite interview question someone has ever asked you? KC (33:38): Favorite interview question someone has asked me man, that’s a tough one a lot. And so I’m trying to think. RV (33:48): Or do you have a favorite question that you’ve asked somebody? KC (33:57): I, I think the favorite interview question I ever asked of somebody was with coach cave, legendary hall of fame coach for duke. Who’s one of my favorite coaches. So it was it was an unbelievable honor and I prepared that interview and I asked him my favorite question I’ve ever asked, cause it was so personal, but also I thought what he did with it was really fun. And I felt like he was going to crush it. I asked him how he, how he led different point guards. You know? So, you know, in basketball, the point guard, at least back in the day, you know, the Tommy Amaker is the, the Johnny doc is the Bobby Hurley’s and coach K was done for these great point guards. And in the question I said, you know, Tommy, Amaker very different than Bobby Hurley both led your team. KC (34:49): And one graduates and the other comes in, how did you lead them differently? And you get this big, old smile on his face. Like that was a freaking awesome question. And he was like, I love that. And he said, he said that that’s that’s really, really good. And, and so he told me, and so he, he began to go into how he led Tommy was much more intentional and much more structured because Tommy wanted to know which play to run in the timeout, draw it out. And Tommy was going to run it perfectly. He said, I’d draw plays, but I’d make suggestions to Bobby Hurley. Cause Bobby Hurley was an instinctive leader. He goes, and I knew that I draw play up, but if Bobby didn’t see it, he just run his own plane, make it up. And he goes, I was okay with that. KC (35:31): And I had to learn more control, more intentionality with one leader, less allow him freedom. That’s a fantastic, fantastic answer. So I’ll tell you that was probably my favorite question. I think people have asked me before. What’s the, I think probably most favorite question is what’s the challenge. What’s the greatest challenge of, of being a thought leader and somebody who’s been given a really large platform like Dave Ramsey placed me here. This is the real question that God and Dave Ramsey they’re the hands along with others that poured into me, but they’re the hands that have put me in this position. And I got asked that question recently. How do you handle that? And what’s the greatest challenge, cause this is fun. What you and I get to do is fun to pour into people and see their light bulbs go on every day. It’s really, that’s a juice. That’s hard to get tired of it. So that was a good question. That was a really interesting, because most people don’t associate challenge, you know, personal challenges with what we get to do. And I thought that was a really thoughtful question. RV (36:39): Yeah. Well I love that. And that, that, that question that you asked coach K is such a great example where, you know, it was not only led to a great insight, but you tapped into an intimate place for him in his life that he was like, KC (36:57): That’s the key, that’s the key. You know, when you’re interviewing somebody like Malcolm Gladwell, like don’t ask him about 10,000 hours or something he’s been interviewed on 50,000 times, you know asking him, you know, what he admires most about distance runners. Does he see himself in them? Like that’s gonna like mocking level. The guy loves runners. He runs for, for his health, but he’s also a geek out super fan of these long distance runners. Ask him about something that he’s juiced about and then it’s game on, man. RV (37:38): I love it. I love it. Well, Ken Coleman, one of the greatest hosts of our time sharing secrets right here, stop and in full transparent disclosure. Buddy, I’m so grateful for you. You’ve been such an encouragement to me, keep going. And we wish you all the best KC (37:57): I will, man. Appreciate you. You’ve always been so kind and I got to get over there to that pool. You and I need to be in big, giant rubber ducky floats. RV (38:05): Do it, man. See you brother.

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