The Key of Listening

For my interview I expect many things. I expect for a new viewpoint that I never could have imagined. While I may have some idea what my interviewee has done in the past it will take until their sharing for me to fully understand their story. This part of the interview will undoubtably be the most exciting. Like many people, I intend to have full knowledge of the interviewee and their interest, it is in the pitfalls of my research where the exciting and interesting points will likely fall. These stories will be the unique and entertaining experiences each of us hold within us waiting to be shared. In these stories will I learn things about my interviewee, the topic, and myself I had no intention of learning, and this will be exciting.

I also expect that I will be challenged. My preconceptions prior to the interview will be tested and likely changed. I will also be challenged to provide strong talking points presented in a clear, easy to comprehend manner. One of my main challenges in everyday speaking can be my wording and clear use of speech. This will only be expanded upon during the interview and it will be up to myself to create an atmosphere of comfort and understanding and not pose questions that are poorly worded.

In a similar manner, I expect that I will learn a new level of listening. I will be forced to do many things at a time: checking recording levels, thinking of my next question or topic, and mainly, listening to the stories of the interviewee. This overload of mental stimulation will create a whirlwind of activity in addition to my earlier posed concerns. I intend on conquering this through a process of deep breaths, selected starting topics for fallback if necessary, and most importantly by focusing on the interviewee. While this project is intended to prepare myself with Oral History skills, it is just importantly to get the story of my interviewee into the public and archived. I must remember that they are the one with the interesting stories and my job is to gather these stories. By realizing this, I will allow myself freedom to ask another “fallback” starting topic to recollect my thoughts and begin a new focus of the interview. I do not fully anticipate this, but in case it happens, I feel prepared to manage a situation like this.

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One Comment on “The Key of Listening”

  1. Graham Smith says:

    I like the idea that you are expecting the unexpected.


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