How can we have brilliant, life-affirming, lean-in conversations that force us to think in new ways and make us blurt out things we’ve never said before?
Richard Fidler knows.
He lives it, every day. As The host of the cult ABC radio show and podcast Conversations, he’s spent 10 years making ordinary people sound like rock stars. He can take a topic that has never entered your mind, and draw you so deep into it that before you know it, you’re sitting transfixed in your car, unable to get out, gripped by stories of Amish communities, ant colonies, or a person you’ve never met.
His show is the ABC’s most popular podcast, downloaded more than 1.8 million times per month, and all without the star factor of major celebs, who he says he won’t interview.
So how did Richard Fidler become so extraordinary at interviewing? And what makes a great conversation?
He tells Mia Freedman, in our most requested No Filter podcast, ever.
It’s a beautiful masterclass in how to stay curious, how much preparation it can take to make something sound so effortless (spoiler: hours and hours), the questions he doesn’t ask, and why he knocks back the mega-mega-mega stars of the world.
When Richard met Mia...
He says the trick to good conversation is remaining curious, and celebrating the weird in people, while the biggest conversation killer is pretending you're the expert.
“Pretending you know everything at the outset, it cuts you off to discovery, to curiosity, humour, to being wrong and being surprised," is just one of the gems he drops.
It's a sublime interview with two of Australia's best interviewers. A must listen for fans of either show, for radio buffs, for podcasting peeps, and for anyone who wants to be like Richard Fidler or Mia Freedman when they grow up. Listen. Take notes. Listen again. Write down your favourite bits in your notebook and clutch it to your chest. Let Richard tell you what his favourite episodes were. And then nod along when he says:
“Radio is so much more satisfying...it is a much richer medium. You can go into much more strange and interesting places”
Take us there, Richard.
Other No Filter episodes include Sam Armytage, Richard Glover, Ita Buttrose, Leisel Jones, Sarah Ferguson, Caroline Overington and Nigella Lawson: