De-Can’t The I Can’t, Part III of III

De-Can’t The I Can’t, Part III of III
By Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.
November/December 2010

Part I began: This November/December column was prompted after listening to an experienced court reporter express their “current mindset” during private coaching and tutoring.

The reporter, with vast experience, said, “I can’t do that. There can’t be no opportunities.” I was unclear if this was a comical statement or personal observation.

When the sentence was defined, at my request, the court reporter stated, “That’s really my opinion. But I really believe I can’t!” My reply was a simple, “Hmm. How’s that?”

This professional then listed a bucket of reasons and detailed explanations. Sentence after sentence began “I can’t …”

Due to “precise listening” in our court reporting field, we know there are high-frequency words and phrases. We know that all court reporting students are taught the phrase “I can’t” in a brief form.

As the holidays approach, I invite you to focus on the number of times you (I will include myself here) use the “I can’t” phrase.

What does this have to do with our work, our path? …

PART II began: I did not know the man, though I knew the national corporation.

Rather than discuss my shoe size with a list of questions clearly being trolled with multiple captioning and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) offices (he confirmed this trolling, upon my request), I asked that he print the list and send the questions to me. Mr. IT Man quickly said, “I can’t.”

I paused and said softly, “Sir, you are clearly reading from a list. You are clearly asking me proprietary questions about my business. I’d like to clearly see your name on letterhead due to the nature of your specific questions, which you are entering into a computer.” (I could hear him typing. Yes, he confirmed that he was entering my information into a company database.) Again the IT Man said, “I can’t.”

I thanked him for the opportunity to work with the national company and assured him that he would find competent help with this service request. …

PART III: When we turn the “I can’t” phrase around and define our moments and our events with words that are powerful, we note differences in our world, our work, and our schooling. We do.

I want to invite you to note the frequency in which you (and perhaps individuals you work and live with) use this phrase.

My opinion is the focus in the phrase is similar to a focus with red cars (as an example).

When someone points out a specific red car, and we make a mental note of the red car, there ‘seem’ to be red cars everywhere.

Recently, while coaching and tutoring two individuals, I listened to the high-frequency “I can’t” phrase – a lot.

When I drew attention to the phrase, each stated, “It would be impossible to not use the wording.” Hmm.

I invited each, a professional, court reporter, CART provider, captioner, instructor, and a student, to place a dollar in a jar every time they avoided the phrase “I can’t” and to reward the moment for each opportunity where there was a focus and a shift.

Was this successful? Yes.

Each shared that their personal and professional world changed – within a short period of time – from this one simple focus.

One individual donated the money from the “I Can’t Dollar Jar” to a charity; the other purchased a coveted item as a reward.

Words have power. Words define who we are at the moment.

Court reporters, CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) providers and captioners are word people.

We are really, really good word people with sophisticated (finely-trained) disciplines.

“De-can’t the I can’t” and note the new moments and resourceful experiences that will begin to appear in realtime.

We have limitless choices with ‘huge’ potential.

Our choices then develop and unfold when we revise, amend, and modify our wording and our focus.

And what might you do with a “I Can’t Dollar Jar?” Oh, the possibilities … Happy Holidays.

Part I of III is posted November 14, 2010, on Monette’s Musings at and

Part II of III is posted December 2, 2010, on Monette’s Musings at and

Part II of III is posted December 15, 2010, on Monette’s Musings at and

Monette, The Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: and

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal

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About Monette Benoit:
As a 25+ year court reporter, CART Captioner, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.

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She has also helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

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