Car Talk Fan

Anyone else listen to Car Talk on NPR? I’m a huge fan. I don’t have a nickel’s worth of interest in how to fix an engine or what indicates this belt or that fluid may need to be replaced. That said, I can’t seem to turn the dial when I stumble upon Tom and Ray’s radio show. The subject matter isn’t a bell ringer for me, but the way the hosts engage the callers, share their knowledge in unpredictable ways, incorporate humor into the seemingly humorless and manage to make the audience, doing who knows what/who knows where, want to hear all they have to say on a subject they may care nothing about is amazing. To top that off, for someone who believes she doesn’t care a lick about car mechanics, over time I’ve come to learn a reasonable amount about the goings on under the hood. My mind was distracted enough by the appealing delivery to soak up the information freely, versus shutting out what I may have normally judged as boring, irrelevant to me or over my head.

Imagine, job seekers, the power you would have in your search efforts if you had masses of people drawn to you, wanting to hear you out, wanting to be a part of your efforts no matter their interest in your actual profession, subconsciously soaking up your information so they might apply it to the circumstances they encounter when you aren’t around.

What does it take to attract people the way Tom and Ray do? A big chunk of it is natural talent. I’m not going to minimize their success by painting their accomplishments as easy to replicate. I will say there are a few things about those two you will notice when you take time to listen.

  • They always engage the person they are talking with before showering them with knowledge.
  • They speak in terms that are easy to relate to. They recognize credibility doesn’t come from speaking over the heads of others, but from teaching a person new things on their level.
  • They care about how interesting they are to others, not just about how interesting they are to themselves.
  • They aren’t overly serious. They take what they do seriously and they are seriously good at what they do, but they don’t showcase either with a serious disposition.
  • They surprise you. The predictable is woven in with the unexpected.
  • They show their personalities in a genuine way.

All of the above are elements I try to incorporate into my interactions with others. It’s been a work in progress for me to get to a point where I’m more aware of the person on the other side of my words than I am of myself. Those who know me in real life will tell you I’m a talker and, though I’m conservative, I’m far from bashful. It would be easy for me to take over conversations and drown those around me in my knowledge of subjects without concern for how interesting I am, what others really want to hear about and what may be going on in the lives of those I’m slathering with my bountiful morsels of information. Because I know this about myself, and because I appreciate the style of Ray and Tom, it’s easier for me now to find my pause button in conversations. I’m more focused on finding ways to achieve an entertaining and meaningful discussion versus an intelligent lecture. I hope Tom and Ray would be proud.


  • Lyn says:

    Enjoyed your analysis of CarTalk. I never really thought about it, too busy laughing, but you’re right about how they interact with people. Much of what you point out reminds me of Steven Covey’s advice.
    Thanks for stimulating me to think a little deeper, and good advice to job seekers.

  • Lisa says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Lyn. Tom and Ray really are great. Glad talking about them helped you see things from a different angle.

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