Oral History Interview & Importance – Part 20

Listening Carefully (2)

Hamid Qazvini
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian


Interview: Ali Taklou with Commander in Chief Azizollah Pourkazem- May 2016

As discussed earlier, listening carefully plays a vital role in an interview and failure to master this skill affects the interview adversely. We’ll read about other crucial related factors.



It is recommended to nod during an interview or express verifications such as “yes” or “that’s right” to show that you’ve fully understood the narrator’s intention and are interest in the interview. Note that reacting to what the narrator is saying promotes the spirit and ensures them that the interviewer is listening carefully.

Bear in mind that the average pace of speaking is between 125 to 175 words per minute. While the thinking speed is between 400 to 800 words per minute. The gap shall be used to process the information provided by the narrator and to properly react. Indeed, affirmative confirmations and reaction promote convenience and establish a closer interaction.



You better put yourself in the narrator’s shoes and look at incidents from their perspective. You should put your point of views aside and start the interview with an open mind to be able to sympathize with them. If ideas contradicting yours are expressed, merely listen and don’t opt to respond. Interviewer shall remain impartial & avoid judgments.


Narrator’s Tone

The tone and volume of the narrator add to the content. A capable individual coordinates his tone and volume to keep the audience fully involved the whole time. People use their tone and volume and increasing or lowering their voice to transfer their intention which are indicators that will assist you to understand the importance of the information expressed.



Human mind is weak and fails to recall detailed information in time; however, reminding key words are helpful in showing that the message is properly perceived and understood. Reminding details, ideas and concepts of previous talks indicate the attention of the interviewer and encourages the narrator to continue.

Offering a summary of what is said for the narrator is a method to be applied by the interviewer to remind the narrator of any probable mistakes and give them the opportunity of correction.

Beware that in case you fail to understand the intention or the concept expressed by the narrator or misunderstandings occur, ask them to elaborate to assure them of your full involvement. Sometimes the narrator diverts from the main concept and it’s your duty to redirect them. This is very important and requires carefully listening.


Taking Notes

In listening to the narrator, don’t fail to take notes of key concepts. During the interview, taking notes is a proper took to ask questions and clarify issues. It also assures the narrator of your attention.


Oral History Interview & Importance Part 1 - Oral History, Path to Cultural Dialogue

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 2 - Characteristics of an Interviewer

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 3 - Selecting a Subject

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 4 - Narrator Identification & Selection

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 5 - Goal Setting

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 6 - Importance of Pre-interview Data Collection

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 7 - To Schedule & Coordinate an Interview

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 8 - Required Equipment & Accessories

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 9 - Presentation is vital

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 10 - Interview Room

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 11 - Pre-interview Justifications

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 12 - How to Start an Interview

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 13 - Proper Query

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 14 - Sample Query

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 15 - How to ask questions?

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 16 - Body Languag

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 17 - Application of Body Language (1)

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 18 - Application of Body Language (2)

Oral History Interview & Importance Part 19 - Listening Carefully (1)


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Oral History Interview & Importance Part 21

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Obviously, the questions shall not remain limited to the list and during the interview the interviewer shall come across new questions and issues for which he has to raise questions to achieve further elaboration and clarity. These questions are based on the narrators story and rise through careful detection of his speech. Also, by asking new questions and expressing points which further elaborate what the narrator has said the research will demonstrate interest into the story which will encourage the narrator to share more.
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