Sometimes it might be useful to be long-winded. Maybe.

I was recently interviewed by the dynamic Krysta Wark of the Global Physio Podcast. Krysta and I had been messaging about this interview since March, but it was only in August that we got around to doing the 30-minute podcast interview. At the time of the initial request, Krysta offered me a free-range: as long as it had to do with global physio, I could name the topic and she would come up with the questions.

If you read this blog at all, you know what I like to talk about. In answering Krysta’s request, I wanted to find the intersection between my own interests and the interests of an audience of (mostly Canadian) physiotherapists. Most of all, I wanted to deliver this content in a crisp and punchy format that lends itself to easy podcast listening. And maybe even a quoted line on twitter.  🙂

In the final days before actually doing the interview, Krysta sent a bank of questions that she might draw upon in the interview itself. We did not want the podcast to be scripted; although we were calling it an interview, it was meant to feel like a free-flowing chat around a given topic. Repeatedly, I reviewed Krysta’s proposed questions and immediately replied with a short “looks good!” Then, the next day, I would revise my stance with a message saying, “Actually, I have thought of this more and think we should talk about ____________.”

With these repeated backs-and-forths, we settled on a plan to get talking about my research in Zambia and “take it from there.”

Our strategy played out according to a pattern in the actual interview: Krysta asked practical and relevant questions. And I started talking.

By the halfway point I realized that I had somehow strayed from my goal of crisp punchiness; instead falling back on my more typical narrative pattern – of rambling through ideas, sorting these out as I say them aloud. My answers included doubt, the infusion of tangential considerations, and slow lines of reasoning that lumbered toward clear points. Or semi-clear points. Or sometimes, no obvious point at all.

The moment after switching off the recorder, Krysta asked me, “how was that?” I responded dejectedly. To my surprise, she replied “What? I loved it; it got me thinking!”

What? Really?!? Her comment got me thinking.

Consistent to my plans for this interview, I do not think that rambling is a great podcast strategy. And yet, sometimes with some audiences, it might actually be valuable.

One of my take-home messages for this interview was: “Careful reflection is important; we need to do more of this as global health physios.” In my narrative rambles, I was reflecting carefully – practicing the precise thing that I was proposing.

Did this strategy turn off some listeners? (or more likely, cause them to turn off the podcast) I suspect that it did. But is it also possible that the lengthy explanations got some people thinking; consistent to the way that Krysta found that she had been stimulated while listening to my “thinking out-loud while trying to answer the question.”

I do not know: what effect does this podcast have on you?

This experience has made me even more determined to refine my perspectives into some clear and concise messaging. As an example of this, I am working on another post where I answer Krysta’s questions succinctly.

In parallel to my drive for brevity and clarity, Krysta’s feedback has made me question whether a little rambling might be good, once in a while. But I do not have a definitive answer to that question. Maybe you do?

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