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 Tami on July 25, 2009 at 21:51
Well, then that one bad apple better stay away!!
Comment by April McMillan, CRR, RPR, CSR on July 25, 2009 at 17:48
That's cuz we're all from the "Good Apples" barrel :)
Comment by Tami on July 25, 2009 at 15:33
Boy, you girls are sure agreeable!!
Comment by Janet on July 25, 2009 at 11:53
I would never ask a Judge to slow down, and it is very rare that I'll ask a witness to slow down. I agree with Tami. I usually just say, excuse me, will you repeat that? Or if there was a term I didn't hear/understand, I'll read to that point and ask them to continue. I'll also use every break, pause while someone is looking through documents to come up with briefs for things that keep coming up when it's fast. That helps a lot, too. I've been doing a lot of 400 pagers lately on the same case, and I keep adding brief after brief to be able to keep up with the fast pace. That helps so much.

Do you use audio sync? While you shouldn't use it as a crutch & depend on it entirely, it does help. If you're just out of school and you're doing court work, it's going to make you a much better reporter if you hang in there and keep improving yourself. Some of the things that I thought would kill me early on actually pushed me to get to a new level. I got better with each tough job.
Comment by April McMillan, CRR, RPR, CSR on July 25, 2009 at 11:49
Teresa, I wholeheartedly agree with Tami.

What I do is almost exactly the same. I'll say to whomever, as an example, "I'm sorry, I didn't hear that last part. This is what I have," and then I'll read it back, and the person will complete it. When testimony resumes it's almost always at a slower pace. More often than not, I'll have other counsel interrupt Speedy Gonzales and ask them to: "Slow down for the reporter, please." Nice.

Another thing is confidence and experience count for a lot. As a newbie, many times I was too timid to speak up and regretted it when it came time to get the job out. I can remember pulling my hair out, yelling at the top of my lungs, just getting frustrated with myself for not speaking up.

Practice at interrupting makes painless scoping and beautiful transcripts:)
Comment by Teresa Russ on July 25, 2009 at 11:23
Thanks, Tami, for your quick reply. It's good to hear a variety of ways on how to handle this. You're right. It is so important. I plan to suggest that my school start looking into this topic. I need to find what will work for me. I like your tip. I hope others will comment as well.

I will take your advice re: continuing to build my speed.
Comment by Tami on July 25, 2009 at 10:50
Well, wouldn't it have made school a whole lot easier if we could have asked them to speak up or not mumble or SLOW DOWN! :)

It is something we're completely untrained in, and it's so important.

I never admit it's too fast for me. Some disagree with that, but I'll just repeat the last few words I got and look at them with a "continue" look. I never will say "slow down," "you're speaking too fast," etc. I will tell them when they're talking at the same time, though.

All that being said, Teresa, the best advice I can give you is to get faster. Don't settle for graduation speed. You will not believe how much easier this job gets with excessive speed.

You can achieve that two ways: hand speed and writing shorter.

I think the easiest and cheapest way to work on that is with Mark Kislingbury's Club at magnumsteno.com. He will make you a super reporter, and you'll reap the rewards.

Good luck to you!!

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