Posts Tagged ‘communication’



May 14, 2008
Here’s something you never would have heard me say two years ago:

“I love NASCAR.”

My Valentine’s Day present this year from my dear husband was the NASCAR HotPass from DirecTV. Two years ago, that might have been the death knell for us. But this year, it’s quite different. It may have been the most thoughtful Valentine’s gift ever.

I used to have a stereotype in my mind — one held by many, I’d imagine — of what a NASCAR fan was like. I certainly didn’t fit that mold, at least so I thought.

At first, I’d only watch the races when they were in HD. The races started to become interesting to follow when I could tell which cars were which, thanks to the new technology that was available. A year ago, I tended to call it NAPcar: I’d put on a race (only if I could watch in HD), then snuggle in for a nice nap on a Sunday afternoon.

So what is it that draws me to NASCAR now?


Listening to the drivers and their crews communicate (especially when I am “in the car” on one of the four driver channels on HotPass) fascinates me. I know that when I am stressed, it’s tough for me to listen well to those around me. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to listen well in a situation where so many lives and so much money are on the line . . .

Watching the nonverbal communication on Pit Road intrigues me.

Seeing the marketing and public relations communication between the teams, their sponsors and the public makes me laugh sometimes. (If you do a search on YouTube for Ricky Bobby, you can find several fun send-ups of NASCAR sponsorships.)

Observing the driver interviews after a race is fun. I enjoy seeing how an individual driver gets better and better through a series of interviews. Even though these guys (and at this point, they are all guys) have driven faster and harder than I ever have or will in my lifetime, they must compose themselves for the camera. Note how often they thank their teammates, and how many sponsors they mention.

And there’s more. Stay tuned.


Photo Credit: Nascar – Getting Ready to Start the Race at SundownOriginally uploaded by frostyrellik at Flickr.

NOTE: I learned a lot about how to watch a race through Liz Allison’s book The Girl’s Guide to NASCAR.


10 Ways to Show You Are NOT Listening

December 10, 2007

In previous Listening Matters posts, you’ve read about 10 Ways Educators Can Listen Better to Their Students and 10 Reasons Parents Must Become Effective Listeners. Today, I have for you something that’s a bit more tongue-in-cheek. Daryl Vander Kooi, Ed.D., a former executive board member of the International Listening Association, shares with us a sampling of ways that he’s experienced people not listening.

  1. GO AHEAD; DO THE SAME THING. Continue to do as you were. Don’t stop, ask “what,” or walk over to see what the other person wanted.
  2. SLEEP. If you feel too self-conscious about sleeping during a meeting, at least let your eyes glaze. Remember to prop your head with your hand so that it does jerk you around when you do nod off.
  3. FAKE ATTENTION. See if you can master the art of having your head nod affirmatively without it becoming regular and expected.
  4. ADJUST THE VOLUME. Make a clear, unobtrusive gesture that you are turning your hearing aid volume down or your iPod volume up.
  5. SMILE EVEN WHEN YOU DISAGREE. Smile. Make it look like you agree with the speaker, when he knows that you do not.
  6. CHANGE THE CHANNEL. When your spouse, brother, sister, parent, or friend begins a conversation about the television program that’s on, change the channel.
  7. READ. When your spouse is hinting at a conversation, say, “Just a minute.” Go to the restroom and read Sports Illustrated or Everyday with Rachael Ray. Maybe your spouse will forget.
  8. USE E-MAIL. If you want to avoid some subjects while still maintaining a superficial contact, forward as many e-mail junk stories as possible beginning each with “Mom, I just loved this one.” And be sure to never check out the validity of the stories at
  9. CHANGE THE SUBJECT. Act as though you misunderstood; say, “Oh, I’m sorry, but I thought you asked me something else,” and then continue with what you thought.
  10. DON’T. One of the best ways to convince others that you are not listening is to not listen.

— Daryl Vander Kooi, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, Dordt College

What other ways have you experienced people not listening to you? It’s unfortunate, but I bet we can double this list . . .