MEDIASTRAIGHTalk-October Edition

October 1, 2014

WATSON NEEDED SHERLOCK TO FIND ANSWERSThe Ryder Cup is to golf what the Super Bowl is to football. The U.S. team has lost eight of the last 10 matches to Europe. It’s refreshing when a player of stature (Phil Mickelson) openly questioned Captain Tom Watson’s lack of communication and his off-and-on again match strategy. Europe’s team looked like a band of brothers…the U.S. like guys paired together at a Gleneagles, Scotland charity outing (site of the latest match). The criticism was awkward coming at a post-match news conference and put Watson on the defensive. Was it good for American golf? Only time will tell. Speaking the truth is usually the first communications step in solving a crisis. Once you admit there is a problem you can start the process of finding a solution. In this case “touchy-feely” may make more sense than “just get the job done”.

LISTENING HAS BECOME A RARE SKILLCheck it out. An over abundance of programs that teach people to speak but VERY few on how to listen more effectively. A WSJ column says, after a 1987 study of conversational recall, only about 10% of what was said in a face-to-face conversation could be remembered after a brief distraction. The article points out a major obstacle to listening is a tendency to filter and judge others’ talk based on pre-existing assumptions, expectations and intentions. Finally in 2006 a study of college students showed they spent about 24% of their time listening to others face-to-face or in groups down from 53% in 1980 when a comparative study was conducted. Maybe we need to change the way we react/respond in a workplace world where talking is more valued than listening.

WILL GOODELL TRIUMPH OVER EVILNFL commish Roger (aka The Dodger) Goddell presides over a multi-billion dollar biz that trumpets a physical and mental “beat-down” of opponents every week. The Dodger avoids direct and honest answers to questions about what to do about beat-downs of women and abuse of little kids. Why? Seems simple to some. He’s being paid $44 million a year to be neither a good listener (see above) or a good talker. Intrepid journalists should be talking to team owners like Virginia McCaskey who pay Rog. Seen any stories like that lately? If you want answers go to the source of a problem. Isn’t that the essence of good/great reporting?

CAPTAIN DEREK LIKE JOLTIN JOE HAS LEFT AND GONE AWAYClass, dignity and baseball accomplishments. How did these guys make it through the thicket of sports cynicism much more prevalent today than yesteryear? Simply by being quiet on and off the field. The impressive numbers tell their stories of overwhelming success. They both stayed very real in a world where putting a jock on a pedestal and tearing him down is blood sport. Just a good Kalamazoo kid whose parents taught him important values.

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