15 April 2009

Derek Draper – another psycho-therapist who talks too much and listens too little?

I recently posted a note about Derek Draper breaking a basic rule of turn-taking in conversation (‘one speaker at a time’), illustrated by a video of him and Paul Staines being interviewed by Andrew Neill.

Since then, I’ve come across a transcript with more examples of Mr Draper interrupting a co-interviewee, this time former Tory cabinet minister John Redwood – and another case where the interviewer intervenes to put a stop to it (full transcript HERE) – which suggests that the earlier observation may not have been an isolated instance:

Redwood: "Well he was the chief regulator of them, he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer running a tripartite regulatory system…

Draper: "Of course he wasn’t the regulator, the regulation was at arm’s length."

Redwood: "Derek you have to let me speak occasionally."

Redwood: "They allowed the banks to borrow and lend…

Draper: "You don’t think that perhaps…

Interviewer: "Hang on, hang on, let him finish."

Bearing in mind that Mr Draper is some kind of psycho-therapist, this and the earlier exchange with Andrew Neill are consistent with something I’ve noticed about the conversational style of quite a few people who’ve made a late career decision to go into counselling of one kind or another, namely that they tend to be (a) very talkative and (b) not very good at listening to what anyone else has to say.

Given that being a good listener is presumably essential if you’re going to be any good at helping people with their problems, I’ve often wondered if psycho-therapy and counselling are occupations that, for some mysterious reason, attract square pegs into round holes.

And my hypothesis is certainly not undermined by the low ratings and negative comments by readers in the Amazon customer reviews of Mr Draper’s recent book on the subject.


Fidothedog said...

His desk is up for sale


simon said...

Interviews don't work to the same rules as ordinary conversations. It's a different medium. In ordinary conversation, we expect courtesy. On television, we expect conflict, hence the success of eg Humphreys/Paxman.

Draper/Guido was always bound to kick off. Draper did the producers a favour. He was playing to the rules of the medium.

Of course it's all gone wonky in the last few days. But what did for Draper was not his interview style but his adherence to the dark side of political conduct.

Max Atkinson said...

SImon is, of course, right in saying that some conversational 'rules' are modified when it comes to news interviews (for a fuller story on which, see 'The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air,' by Steven Clayman and John Heritage, Cambridge University Press, 2008.

But some rules (e.g. 'one at a time') do not change, and viewers are free to draw their own conclusions about someone who repeatedly violates it.

Mark Henry said...

interesting post pulpwood like to read something like stuff u have posted here.