Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Voice in My Head

I sometimes record the interviews I do.

It’s never really worked well. Recording and transcribing interviews is, for many reasons, a huge pain in the ass.

But the biggest is that I just hate having to listen to myself.

Everyone says the reason why we don’t like to hear ourselves is that we are not used to how our voices really sound. We are used to hearing ourselves from inside our own heads.

Nah, what makes me squirm as I transcribe are all my pauses, my ummms and aahhs and irritating verbal ticks. I, for example, suck my breath in audibly every time I am about to speak. Every time. Some theorize that pauses and tics serve a purpose, making us sound natural, letting us finesse spoken conversation. I don’t know: Listening to these recordings, I wonder how anyone can stand to be in the same room with me.

And in these interviews, I talk way too much. But that’s not just me. Have you ever noticed people asking questions – whether professional journalists at a news conference or that bozo at the lecture you’re attending – often go on and on, trying to prove how smart they are and how much they know? Meanwhile, the rest of us are like, “Get to the damn question, jerk wad.” But asking a good, succinct question and getting out of the way (till it’s time to follow up) is hard to do.

Still, the one-minute rule, where you try to keep your utterances to a minute or less, is a good rule of thumb, especially in an interview, where, after all, the whole idea is to hear what the other person has to say.

And my minute is now up.

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