I recently conducted my first interview with a participant for my Honours Project! The whole interview was recorded on an audio recorder and I just finished transcribing it. Listening to my own voice was a strange process of thoughts like, ‘Do I really sound like this?’ and feelings of intense embarrassment arose.

There are a few things I realised from conducting my interview and a few improvements I want to make for my next one.

  1. I ‘umm’ and ‘ahh’ quite a bit.
  2. I tend to lift the tone of the end of my sentences.
  3. I use the word ‘like’ as a filler word.
  1. The ‘umm-ing’ and ‘ahh-ing’ comes from a lack of rehearsal in my questions and the internal changing of formal wording into an informal one. Next time I want to be more practised in asking questions and know what I am talking about. Also I want to be able to come across as confident in asking questions.
  2. This is something which has been pointed out by another one of my university tutors. She said that (during my presentation) I made the end of my sentences higher in tone than the rest, which suggested I was questioning the fact. Of course when asking questions, it is supposed to sound like a question, so the lift at the end is perfectly okay. However, in other contexts it is not. I think that it links back to the lack of confidence and rehearsal in point 1. I subconsciously doubt myself and question it, which comes out in my speech. I aim to correct this by my next interview.
  3. This is one of my pet peeves yet I do it myself. Listening back to the audio recording was like torturing myself. In almost every pause or gap in speech, I inserted a ‘like’. It is so unnecessary and adds no value whatsoever. I tend to use it more when I am trying to explain something which is something I need to do in my interviews, so I need to stop this habit. My boyfriend advised me not to be scared of taking pauses in speech as it is not awkward if there is a gap in the middle of a sentence. I aim to cut out the use of the word ‘like’ as a filler, not just for the purposes of these interviews but for my speech in general.