Okay. All you veteran reporters, please, share with us newbies how you handle interrupting the proceedings.

I just started reporting hearings last week. I have discovered that I have not had much training in the way of interrupting when the speakers are speaking too fast. It seems I am comfortable in asking for a repeat if I didn't hear something correctly.

I would appreciate any scenarios you have to share. How do you tactfully ask the judge to slow down? What language do you use? Since we are in the same profession and know what school was like, how do you maintain your confidence? For example, if you have to keep interrupting, do you feel like "they" might think you are not capable of handling the job? In school we're taught to call your agency if a job is over your head.

I was a very good student, and I am very confident that I can handle a variety of hearings. I need to build my confidence in this particular area.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

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Comment by kathy - iamwrdsmth on November 23, 2009 at 8:31
love the snowmen!!!

Comment by Teresa Russ on November 22, 2009 at 19:55
Kathy, I see your point. I'm much better at asking them to slow down now. When I first started, I couldn't determine when to speak up. It was crazy. From the responses I've received here, I try various tactics given the situation. Thanks for responding. It's very thoughtful of you to invite students to sit out with you.
Comment by kathy - iamwrdsmth on November 7, 2009 at 23:32
I think when you get to know the attys who are the fast talkers,
you can develop a friendship of humor about their fast talking
habits. There's few attys who know they are fast , and when I've
said something to them, they respond with: Yeah, I've heard that
before from other court reporters.
I've got one atty who when he comes in the courtroom, we joke
about it!! But at least I know he's trying to slow down a little bit.
And I steel myself for the high speed and ride it out. sort of like
when you're going to your 225 class, you know it's going to be fast
and you mentally prepare yourself!
At least the attys who talk fast usually make sense and form
complete sentences. :))
Comment by Teresa Russ on November 7, 2009 at 19:26
Good tip. I'll make a note of that one as well.
Comment by kathy - iamwrdsmth on October 15, 2009 at 13:48
attys don't realize they are speaking so fast, and when
I remind them, they say okay with all the good intentions
but after a few minutes they speed up again!! so I tell them
at the begining if I wave my hand at them to take a breath so
I can catch up, no words, and usually when they see my
hand they take a breath and give me a chance to catch up!
but not always.

I guess if there were no fast talkers, this job
would be too easy and everyone would be doing it and we
wouldn't get paid the great money that we do...
Comment by Teresa Russ on October 15, 2009 at 12:18
Thank you, Kathy, for your response and it is well taken. Since the time I wrote this blog, I have gotten the confidence to speak when necessary. In my limited experience, some of the attorneys seem to not be aware that they are speaking much to fast and have made an effort to slow it down. But as I stated earlier, I'm still wet behind the ears and I'm sure there are those who feel differently. As a matter of fact, I have a friend who has reminded attorneys in a professional manner what our requirements are when the fast talking just gets too out of hand and they ignore her request.
Comment by kathy - iamwrdsmth on October 15, 2009 at 12:07
anyone wonder why people are talking faster now than ever
before? because no reporter ever said, you're talking too fast!
the state of california says you need to write 200 words a minute
to do this job. while that might be a bit slow for the crazy attys
out there, it is what the state requries. why then do we feel we
have to be superwriters?? I do have my RPR, and the extra speed
has helped when they talk over each other, but where does it say
I must write for 220 words a minute for half an hour straight?
I'm a bit befuddled about the discussion here about not slowing
down the attys.

Comment by Teresa Russ on October 15, 2009 at 11:01
Hi Micki, I just saw this. I haven't been on the Nation for a while. Thanks for the tip. I could have used this a few weeks ago. :) I'll be in touch sometime tomorrow.
Comment by Micki England on September 14, 2009 at 15:02
Let's see . . . How to interrupt a fast speaking attorney, witness, or expert witness.
Pretend you are under arrest and raise both hands to the sky!
They need you to write in order to get it on the record!
Until we meet again, Micki
Comment by Shelley Ottwell on July 26, 2009 at 9:50
I totally agree with April, Tami, and Janet's comments on witnesses or attorneys. I will add that there are times when someone is reading from a document at breakneck speed I do not interrupt because nine out of ten times that document will be an exhibit. On the times it's not, I make sure I get a copy!
Janet had some valuable tips on building job-specific briefs that work great in keeping yourself sane.
As far as judges go, you might try to incorporate some judge-specific briefs. It DOES get easier with time.

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