Transcript for "Acknowledgment - with Simon Ratcliffe"

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00:00.00
podcomm
Hello I’m Craig Konine Welcome to the show. Thank you for taking the time as I say to everybody because as I always say I Really mean it. We had a conversation beforehand which actually I had forgotten how far back I’m like wait wait wait wait where did I mean you like.

00:02.21
simon
Hi Craig I’m Simon ratcliffe.

00:19.85
podcomm
Go all the way back to the first podcasting course that I took you were in the course and I’m like you know part of what I love about this particular show is getting to catch up with people that I haven’t talked to in like that’s like 2 years now maybe coming up on 3 years so there’s so many things that like you and I could we could just sometimes I think we should just. Randomly talk with no intention of being mindful at the time but let’s let’s try and have a thread to start so I do a little free association and you started talking about you, you wound up talking about joy and enthusiasm and you kind of started. Talking about something else and I’m I’m purposely like trying to cover over some of the things and we wound up talking about what I said is this is like a podcaster pod roller coast like the pod coaster there’s this your words there’s this thing of like my enthusiasm goes up as I’m recording. And then ah editing and some people would say it already starts going down when editing but okay, you’re still going up in editing and then we both kind of laugh as is like gay you push publish and then it’s like yeah, it’s yeah, it’s so hard to get any traction. It’s so hard to get um feedback and I’m just wondering. Ah, what do you do like like how aware are you of that the downhill like as you’re going up the uphill are you like trying to plan ahead. Are you’re just like no I’m just enjoying the ride up the hill.

01:44.39
simon
That’s a good question craig I mean I think as I said when we were talking before that that there is a real joy in actually recording the podcast because that’s the raw state with which you are. Talking to your guest in my case I interview guests. So you really get to understand somebody’s story I mean obviously my podcast is you know does delve into people’s lives in ah in a fairly fairly deep way and it never. Ceases to amaze me how open and honest people can be about their lives and often very very emotional subjects. Um, in fact, some might guess say this is like having a therapist. Ah. Only the great news is I haven’t had to pay for it. So I guess that’s that’s where I get my joy and and the the other parts are really the mechanics of getting it out there which I find less exciting I quite enjoy the editing.

02:36.18
podcomm
Yeah, yes.

02:52.71
simon
Purely because you’re going back to that conversation going back to remembering exactly that conversation and and and you know some of the the meanie behind it so that that’s really my That’s my rollercoaster.

03:04.19
podcomm
Do you do anything else. Um I love that you mentioned like going back to the conversation like as a personal opportunity to revisit and there are some things that I do like I’m I’m scribbling frantically trying to take notes because I actually keep notes about the individual conversations that I have and i. I try to revisit them and I’m working on writing articles and I really really think for me and the question is is it also the same for you that there’s a lot of value in when I’m in the conversation I’m only really honestly partly there no insult intended Simon like. Part of me is always trying to watch the time and be aware of all the meta stuff so when I go Back. It’s like not only is it great to revisit. But I’m actually experiencing it for the first time even though I was supposedly there the first time and I’m wondering. Do you do anything else. With your pieces like do you know? do you like listen to them randomly later or down the road or do you try to write about them or like how does that whole self-feeding self-improvement process look for you.

04:05.12
simon
Yeah, that’s interesting I mean I do I don’t do anything back on them and and that’s an interesting thought that I haven’t done anything with really I guess I do feel very present in my interviews and I think I have to because when you’re. Talking about the subject matter I’m talking about which is people who’ve gone through some kind of adversities are often delving into you know their childhood lots of parts of different aspects of their life I really need to be present because you really need to lead.

04:38.19
podcomm
Um, so.

04:41.98
simon
Story and you need to dig into the right things at the right time in order that the listener gets the full understanding of of the of the story. Um, and I suppose I ah I guess. Partly my historical career has helped me in that because I was in the advertising business and then I went on and set up a brand consultancy and part of that was doing research. So I have done thousands of group discussions with ordinary people. Up and down the country and that’s paid for by a client and you have to deliver a great a great outcome for that. So that is really going way Beyond the Superficial. You have to really get. Deep into an understanding of why people say the things they say so I guess thinking back that’s probably equipped me to do it in the way that I’m able to because I’ve had that kind of it’s almost like my instinct is to.

05:46.22
podcomm
Um, has been honed. It strikes me that there’s there’s almost 3 I mean we got like 3 different things here where or 3 different types of the same thing. Um, so what I’m doing in in this conversation with you.

05:50.32
simon
Dig deeper.

06:05.82
podcomm
Not to get overly meta about it is I’m aware that I’m not going to edit this like I mean I’m going to mix the sound levels but I’m not going to do any cutting and we have like ah is that okay at the end and we have like a you know shall we veto or not. But other than that we know this is going out as is so that I may just name the 3 types so that’s 1 type and the other type. And I also do some like you’re describing where you do a long conversation with someone and then they’re edited in post-production and you try to like really make a good thing out of it tell a story with what you captured? Um, so if what we’re doing today is short form and we call that long-form my brain exploded when you started talking about. Doing conversations with groups of people because you’re doing it live and you’re concerned about the experience. The experience. The the experiential thing that you’re creating in real time and I’m wondering if you’ve first of all if you’ve ever thought about I don’t know have you’ve ever done short form stuff like this. But in those 2 long forms that you’ve done have you ever. Sat down and thought about the different thought processes and like short-term you know seconds minutes hour long targets that you have to maintain in those different formats because in this twenty minute format it’s like if I don’t say it. It didn’t happen and if I do say it I can’t get it out later versus. That’s kind of similar to being in a live room have you ever really taken that stuff apart and thought about how those different formats affect what you have to do in the moment.

07:27.21
simon
So really, really good point I mean I guess I’m lucky in that you know my my podcast I will record it for as broadly speaking for as long as needed and that generally ends up being an hour to an hour and a half so you know I have a fair bit of.

07:44.70
podcomm
Um, ray.

07:46.20
simon
Fair bit of editing to do after that and in the research it’s ironic you have about the same time It’s about an hour and a half to 2 hours. But you’re faced with about 8 different people. So so clearly there’s you know there’s less less time for everybody to speak. But that’s a really good question. Um, and I think the other thing that perhaps makes it slightly easier for me is that because I’m not as technically technically minded as someone like you craig in terms of you know all the aspects of podcasting recording everything. It enters my mind much less. So almost I’m not thinking about that. Um, ah, maybe sometimes I think maybe I should um but I suppose I’m I suppose.

08:26.46
podcomm
That’s a good point.

08:31.23
podcomm
I Don’t know I think you get a pretty good outcome as the way the way you’re doing it now. So.

08:39.59
simon
Ah, because it’s it really interesting because I remember having during the T P f 3 There was lots of discussion about my questionnaire almost like this is the podcasts are talking to themselves you know saying? Well what my here’s my list of questions. And a lot of people really wanted to dig down into that into great detail I have no more than 3 scribbled notes on a piece of paper and um, ah, you might say well that was very lazy of you but it’s really.

09:10.90
podcomm
No I don’t show up with any. It’s not lazy of you I think it’s enlightened but keep going 3 scribbled notes. Keep going.

09:15.76
simon
Ah, and and usually they’re to do with I’ve done some research on on on the the person I’m talking to and I’ve picked out 2 or 3 things I think that could be really interesting to probe into that. And I’m a great believer in allowing the conversation to go where it needs to go as opposed and I do think that some people in their anxiety massively over script and they don’t ah just allow look at this.

09:35.53
podcomm
Yeah.

09:47.14
podcomm
Cats.

09:49.70
simon
So fearful I think of a pause or of the guest thinking this person’s got no idea you know that that they actually don’t get to have the proper conversation.

09:58.70
podcomm
I’m not vigorously. Yes, yeah, there’s about 2 hundred and 38 things in there that you said that are really really important. Um, and I’m I’m thinking so 1 thought I want to just say out loud about preparation is yeah i’m. Totally down with you I very rarely show up with anything prepared I have piece paper in front of me today. But it’s a checklist um of like things to do and like the record the podcast. It’s just 1 item here in the middle and I find that if I bring notes the ones that work well are like. Kind of like reminders like hey if the conversation goes anywhere near swiss cheese that might be a very interesting thing. So it’s more like like waymarks on the map like if you find yourself on the lower east side here’s a really good pretzel joint. You know? and but if you’re if you’re uptown on the west side.

10:35.44
simon
Strike off. Um.

10:49.21
podcomm
Like to me those are the kinds of notes that I find useful little reminders of like places I might want to go. That’s 1 thing I wanted to say out loud about when you said I only scribble 3 things I’m like yeah but I bet you they’re really good. 3 things not random things.

11:01.87
simon
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ah, you know I get I Guess with all these things experience takes you down a certain path I mean if you listen to the podcasters who’ve been doing it for very long Time. You know, let’s say someone like Tim ferriss. It It comes across in in the way he does stuff and it but well it does look effortless. But however, you really do get an insight into their personality. So Everything he does is always quite precise quite measured thoughtful.

11:24.21
podcomm
Yeah, doesn’t that look effortless. Ah.

11:39.39
podcomm
Um.

11:40.20
simon
You know he interrogates fine detail in the conversation. So the personality comes out that way as opposed to a structure which is rigidly kept to.

11:53.56
podcomm
Um, yeah you you also mentioned in the the 2 hundred and 38 things um another 1 I don’t think I’m kidding and it might really be that many another 1 that was in there was you mentioned silence. Um, and.

12:08.88
simon
Him.

12:10.69
podcomm
Yeah I totally agree in the beginning you know I was afraid of silence. Everybody’s afraid of silence because it’s not It’s not something you commonly experience in the presence of other people. So I think that’s a natural reaction to be afraid of it but it also in like maybe the last year I’ve developed this well but I think is an enlightened point of view about like. If 2 people. Are you know talking like there’s a conversation baton and we just hand it back and forth and there’s continuous talking I talk you talk I talk you talk? Ah, Nobody’s thinking like there has to be spots where I’m just going huh. That’s a great point simon him and I love. You mentioned silence because to me there’s different kinds of silence there’ is the I’m just going to sit here and stare at you until you tell me something juicy or the whoa Michael glad I gonna edit that pause out because ah, you just like shifted the plate tectonics. So um.

13:03.34
simon
All There’s the awkward pulls. Ah.

13:07.70
podcomm
Well oh yeah, was Wass I wasn’t gonna go there. But thanks for bringing an awkward buzz. Um I Want to pull more on your on the idea on the topic of what you’ve learned or what insights you have from doing those conversations with people you know in real life. Um. Maybe like how does silence work. You know when you have multiple people in a room because if I’m talking to person number 3 and they go silent. Well there’s 6 other people somebody else is going to talk like how did the dynamics work with multiple people and with silence and expectations of. How conversation flows in small like small but still a group.

13:48.33
simon
Yeah I mean you know you did you definitely learn as you go along as you would expect. But I think there’s a couple of things that I think are really really important. So if you have a group of people 8 10 people. Um, it’s absolutely critical. That you acknowledge every person in that room you acknowledge them planck speaking about their name asking them a question digging into something in their aspect of their life. Um. Once you’ve acknowledged everybody and they feel acknowledged then people come forward quite naturally and sometimes you have to quieten people who are overly vocal and bring out people who are less vocal. But. That first bit is really really important. You don’t want people in that group who’ve sort of zoned out because they’re maybe they’re a little bit introverted or they feel the other people know more than them or whatever else. It is so I think that’s a key thing and the other thing I’ve found. Really really important is to go up to the macro level by that I mean people do things for a reason but it’s very easy to dig away at the thing they’re doing and actually not understand why they did it. All you’re getting is more and more about the thing they did not about why they did it so we’ve always found in doing research that you need to ask the wider question about well what’s going on in your life. You know? what’s the things that. May have some impact on that behavior. Whatever that might be um and I think you can bring that into podcasting because you know you get the best insight from understanding what the context is for someone’s life. What what happened to them. Story.

15:52.85
podcomm
Um, yeah.

15:58.67
simon
What’s the context rather than just the thing itself. Um, so I suppose those are the 2 things I learned that I guess I’m applying or trying to anyway.

16:09.54
podcomm
Um I was this um, somebody else I not like to name draw somebody else completely different context is still in podcasting context but a completely different person in a completely different context. We weren’t talking about recording podcasts. We were talking about something else. Said you know what? the best question is to ask people you know, just after they joined the community and is what was going on in your life that made you join so when you say that question I’m like whoa I mean I thought the question was really good when I heard it the first time and I’ve actually seen it work really well and now you’re also telling me clearly from a broad base of experience and knowledge. You’re you’re saying the exact same words and my next thought was whoa. What is it about those. What is it about that specific construct that makes or that is likely to make a person who hears that question like so actually find the answer to why.

16:45.89
simon
Ah.

17:05.42
podcomm
You know it’s like clearly saying Well why’d you do that? That’s clearly not sufficient to get it at the real answer so you know and I also didn’t ask what’s your dog’s name like that’s also not a question that’s going to get it done But what is it about what’s going on in your life that I don’t know does it make them. You know, does it like break the mold like shatter their expectations of how conversation was going to go or what is it that makes that work.

17:23.17
simon
I think there’s 2 things 2 things about that. The first is that the fact of you asking that kind of question goes back to what I said about recognizing the person you are.

17:36.21
podcomm
Ah, yeah I think.

17:42.83
simon
Thinking about them for the person. The individual not just oh, this is about a podcasting course I’m so glad you’ve turned up and signed up for it. You’ve you’ve immediately recognized. They have a life beyond that.

17:50.71
podcomm
Is.

18:00.89
simon
Um, so that’s the first thing I think the second thing is that actually a lot of people never answer those questions until somebody asks them and actually you asking them often. Brings them. Insight they didn’t necessarily have so clarifies something. Yeah, that’s interesting. Hadn’t thought about that. But that now you’ve you’ve now you’ve asked and so it’s opened a door a door a different way of thinking you know? ah. Ah, new perception. So those are the 2 things I would say.

18:43.58
podcomm
That’s I’m thinking I’m thinking that’s brilliant because I don’t know if you were recording but at some point we were talking about how your guests have often said this feels like it’s a therapy session. It’s great I need to pay for it.

18:51.30
simon
Yes.

18:54.93
podcomm
And I was tempted way back whenever that was to say Yeah, what is it about it that makes this a therapy session and I think you just said it which is um I’m going to say acknowledgement the you know the I see you you know to the other person I see you? um.

19:05.82
simon
And yeah.

19:09.75
podcomm
And in a way that’s 1 role of certain kinds of therapists is to acknowledge I see you and your emotions are legit and like all these things that um I don’t know much about Therapy. So I don’t want to make too many examples that are probably wrong. But that question of what’s going on in your life. What’s the context I acknowledge you that’s I think that’s brilliant. Ah I got nothing else to add to that I’m you know that pause I was talking about for thinking but to be using a lot of that time it here. It is yeah um, cool I.

19:38.76
simon
It’s come now.

19:43.93
podcomm
As much as I hate to say it I think that’s a terrific place to stop? Um, yeah Simon it was a real pleasure. Yeah, thank you so much.

19:48.81
simon
It’s been Ah, it’s been a lovely conversation brief but beautiful happy.