This is a court reporting blog. I should mention that, right? Anyway, over the years we’ve all noticed we have plenty of dissenters. Plenty of people in the world that don’t like court reporting, either because they feel it has burned them personally, or because if that pesky profession wasn’t there, things could just be so much better. We even have dissenters in that we have people who just simply believe things should be different, or some kind of information should be shared that we don’t like. Back in the day, this gentleman wrote a short blog about how court reporter transcripts generally are not copyrighted. His name’s Sam Glover, just in case one day the link to his post goes dead. He’s correct. There’s nothing objectively wrong with what he’s saying. But court reporters feel slighted. Why? So many reasons. So much time and effort goes into our work, and the thought of other people looking to short us on money, and tell other people to short us on money, is terrifying. But look at the broader picture. He’s not anti-reporter as of that 2009 writing, he’s not looking for court reporters to be replaced, he’s not wanting anyone to lose their job. In this way, he’s actually kind of a potential friend.
Can we step back a moment and commit to a thought exercise together? When Sam Glover wrote a short 15-line post about court reporting transcripts not being copyrighted, it was relatively unknown and unremarkable, a little bit of information in a world of blogs and bits of data. Eventually, it hit the court reporting groups, and we circulated among ourselves, and people began to comment. Fair, right? He put something out there, so we should all be entitled to put something out there! But there was a small issue. Some people commented using a delivery with negative connotation, and then future readers and commentators, like 2012 commentator William Chuang, come in, and he begins his comment, “I don’t understand the vitriol…” And when people don’t understand us, it’s much easier to disregard the work we do, which is sad, because there are so many that think so highly of the work we do. So back to our thought exercise. In a perfect world where we achieved some consensus in how to address articles like this, couldn’t we all face people that we see as dissenters with the same kind of respect we expect? Couldn’t we take a breath and see it from their point of view? Isn’t it a good idea to see why they’re saying what they’re saying so that we might be able to come up with a solution that considers and includes us?
What we’re really after is all of us reaching a point where we realize that public perception is incredibly important. People who have little gripes about the way things are done are all in our corner, because we all have little gripes about the way things are done. We already share a common trait! We can make the effort to address these folks with civility and understanding, and in return, we just might see them come to our defense when it actually matters. An anecdotal end to this line of thinking: People complain that the local grocery chain is expensive. Manager generally has three options. The manager can come out with an impassioned defense of his employees and state how grateful his customers should be that the store is even in the neighborhood. The manager can say nothing. The manager can listen to the concerns of customers, make adjustments where adjustments can be made, and even politely explain why the prices are what they are. We can all be a smart manager. We can hold our tongue where appropriate, and we can politely educate where appropriate, but we must admit to ourselves that if we berate the customers, we might end up with a very empty store.
We’ve all got agency. We’ve the capacity to make choices and decide who we want to be, and how we want to be. When facing matters related to court reporting, we can easily demonstrate that our actions change outcomes. If we are rude to an attorney, and an attorney is then rude to the next court reporter they work with, that court reporter has reason, rightly or wrongly, to be rude to the next attorney they work with. We’ve got to understand that we can break the cycle every time it swings back our way by taking a step back in any given situation and analyzing what we say before we say it. It’s not magic, it’s a conscious decision, and every time we handle something diplomatically, we win one for the profession.
The more we do this whole life thing, the more we learn that life is less about ideas and more about delivery. Seems like a simple concept, people are more likely to buy from us if we’re nice to them. This is true with merchandise, copies, ideas, anything. Then we study it a little bit, and it just gets weirder. We have to be nice, but if we don’t seem sure of ourselves, our audience won’t be sure either. But then if we come off as too sure, we’re arrogant, and though a bit of showmanship can get a sale, it can quickly devolve into our audience believing we’re all show and no substance.
So where does this leave us? We’re in a position where the dynamics of any given situation can change rapidly. We’re in a position where we cannot control the actions of others, only our own, but with the caveat that our actions may very well influence the actions of others. We can inspire or bore. We can enlighten or enrage.
We’ve all bored somebody. We’ve learned delivery of the message is basically everything. Having a message? That’s important. Having a method to bring that message to people? Priceless.
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