Interviewers are always looking for ways to hurry their interviewees along, so finishing off their ideas seems to be a nice way to do this with the added advantage that you get the floor back. Why wait for the slow speaker to finish when you can do the job in half the time!
John Humphrys, Radio 4 Today programme presenter, gave a nice example of this when he interviewed Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, the other day. Johnson is known for his somewhat hesitating, sometimes ‘bumbling’ delivery and so Humphrys decided to step in and complete the idea for him.
The pair were about 8 minutes into the interview which was focusing on the recent suggestion of Russian involvement in the Salisbury poisoning. Johnson was slowly developing the argument that:
our quarrel is not with the Russian people but with Putin and the Russian government
Humphrys (JH) decided to step in at line 11 and complete the argument. While Johnson (BJ) tried to regain the floor, Humphries was quick to see that this didn’t happen thus giving him control of the floor and the chance to pose another question.
... 01 BJ: but I think it’s very important (.) 02 to to stress this 03 our quarrel is not with Russia 04 or with the Russian people 05 or with a Russ- 06 indeed with Russians who’ve come 07 to make their lives in this country 08 I don’t want to see a great outbreak of 09 of Russophobia 10 as a result of of what has= 11 JH: =our argument is with 12 [Putin and his henchmen 13 BJ: [and and 14 JH: and [we have done nothing 15 BJ: [er er that that’s exactly 16 JH: [to stop them doing what they’re doing 17 BJ: [that’s exactly right 18 JH: [is is is the point 19 BJ: [well I I I that’s that’s 20 JH: [I mean you say we have the ability 21 BJ: [well that’s not true 22 JH: under our (.) this new relatively new law but we’ve not actually put it into practice have we ...
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