Tonight, I want you to feel sorry for me, so I am going to tell you that I spent the better part of the day trudging through videos of interviews with lawyers from one of the oil and gas majors. Hours and hours of video discussing the finer points of what it means to be a successful lawyer in the company. Now, close your eyes and silently send me your most comforting energy. Thank you.
Truth is that I actually liked the people I was interviewing and tomorrow morning I will resume my task, but tonight I am actually grateful for this particular experience because it has delivered me some “just in time” learning for my trip to Nepal–a reminder that I needed in this exact moment. I need to keep my goal in mind.
As I was sitting with these people, listening to them explain to me how they loved their job and what it took to do it well, I became engaged in what they were saying. I literally asked the same questions of almost 30 different lawyers and got virtually the same answers from them all. I would have expected to get bored out of my skull after the first few, but I never did. Their earnestness enchanted me. Interview after interview they said the same things about “really listening” about “caring about the business objectives” and “maintaining focus on mitigating risk.” Subjects that, of themselves, aren’t that interesting. But the people were. I swear, I could do 30 more.
Trudging through the video after, trying to find sound bites however…that is a nightmare.
You see, I got really good material. Largely because I was so interested in THEIR interest in the subject matter. However, as I am combing through the clips, I find that what I have are interviews, not perfect little quips about the subjects at hand. And the end product relies on perfect little quips. We are doing a piece that will be less than an hour long…so I need brevity. Something lawyers are not known for in general. In the interviews, I got distracted. I forgot to interview for sound bites. But we will have the clips we need for this project. We will sculpt away at the most powerful sections, until they are lean and powerful.
This could not have happened at a better time. As a result, I will be listening differently while we interview in Nepal. I will be looking for the succinct and powerful. I will be noting them and asking for reframing where possible.
If I were interviewing you this weekend about something you feel powerfully engaged with, would you be able to speak about it succinctly and powerfully? Do you have something in your life that so inspires you that you wish you could give it just the right words at just the right time? Tell me what that is. I really am interested.