Literally asking questions

I realize it’s been a while since I updated the blog and that’s thankfully due to having lots to do. I’ve somehow become an interviewer of people around Austin and will have lots to show in the coming week or so. I conducted 5 interviews in just over a week (one was a written interview sent back to me). So I found them to be a great experience but not as simple as rockin’ up to someone over a cup of coffee and saying “sup, talk to me.” Considering I have some education under my belt I learned to become a keen researcher and live in fear of asking a question that has nothing to do with them and shows I made no effort beforehand. The trick is to read lots of other interviews they might have done and note down questions they were asked a million times. You want something about your interview to stand out from the crowd. On field/court interviews after a sports game are usually the worst. Might be the end of a rugby game and a captain whose team lost spectacularly and blood is dripping from his forehead gets asked “You lost tonight. How do you feel?” They’ll no doubt say “Yeah definitely” at some point in the interview but it’s often questions where the interviewer and those watching already know the answer. Only ask somebody a question if it’s something you and others don’t yet know and are intrigued as to what they have to say. That’s another good thing about researching before an interview is if there’s something they were asked in the past and weren’t happy about it or were upset, don’t ask it again! Some jerks do this in the hope of a ‘scoop’ but those interviewed might close off from then on. Though if they get angry it’ll probably be shared on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube and the interviewer gets to cackle and rub their hands in an Iago like way.

Something I’ve also learned whilst listening back to my interviews is how crap my spoken vocab is. Like, it’s something I’m not usually aware of ya know? Like, it’s literally, ya know, like tough to listen to a recording again sometimes. So “Like” “Ya Know” and “Literally” are the terms we use in an unnecessary fashion. We use “literally” in regards to literally everything and ‘like’ is just what we do in between words to perhaps gather our thoughts a little, a bit like saying “umm” which most of us do as well. But it was amazing how I said those things in every sentence and I only realized this as I was listening back to the interview (which I have to play/pause and literally type every word which can take hours. Likes etc not included). So it showed me how there are ways we talk and act that are so burnt into our brains that we’re oblivious to them. Once you’re aware of it you’ll hear everyone around you saying these words. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible human being if you use those words incorrectly, but maybe if we work together we can tidy it up and perhaps carry a “like” jar around with us.  Back to interviewing, as I watch David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Graham Norton, they don’t um, ah or like, they deliver their words and questions perfectly without any great hesitations or cliche. I’m sure getting paid millions would encourage you to practice your speech, but they’ve been great in educating me how to ask questions and discuss things without sounding like a dudebro at San Dimas High.

So my personal challenge is if I’m asking questions I’ll ask about things I don’t know and that the other wants to share (within reason) and then when in conversation pause occasionally and think of what the next words will be. I’m sure I’ll adjust in a week or so and be running my own talk show in no time. The Late Late Late Late Show with Jooooooooooel Greatbatch!

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