“Stop and Listen to Stay Safe” – A communication lesson from Daniel Tiger

Shortly after being asked to write about communication strategy, I was watching TV with my daughter, trying to figure out what I wanted to write about. There were so many different ways I could go. Then, Daniel Tiger started singing.

If you are not familiar with the show ‘Daniel Tiger’, lucky you, like most children’s TV shows there is a lesson to be learned in each episode. The lesson for the episode my daughter was watching was about how to safely cross the street, “Stop and listen to stay safe.” As these words were sung many times throughout the episode, I realized stopping and listening not only keeps you safe when crossing the street, but also when you are communicating with others. Often, when we think of communication strategy, the first thing we think of is how we are going to communicate, but in life and in public relations it is also important to listen to your publics. Often, they tell you how best to communicate with them if you just stop and listen.


Truly stop and take the time to have a conversation with someone. Stop thinking about what you are going to say next. Stop checking your phone while others are talking. Stop going through your to do list in your head. Stop multitasking. Stop and listen to what the other person is saying.


When you stop and start listening to the conversation you will be amazed what information you have been missing. Listen to the subtle changes in their voice. Listen to what they repeat. Listen to what they do not say. In becoming an active listener, you will gain perspective. You will learn what is and is not important to them.


Daniel Tiger doesn’t include looking in his song, but I think it is important to include it in both crossing the street and communication. In crossing the street, you need to look for oncoming traffic. In communication, you look to add to the knowledge you are gaining from listening.  Look in their eyes when they are talking. Look at the items they display in their office. Look at their body language. Just like with listening, looking will help you gain perspective and learn what is and is not important to them.

So remember Daniel Tiger next time you are in a conversation. “Stop, (Look) and Listen to Stay Safe.”

KendallKendall Horvatich is the Development Manager at the Arthritis Foundation. In her role, Horvatich implements, coordinates and manages fundraising activities in Indiana to help the Arthritis Foundation’s mission to conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections.

In June, Horvatich and Tammy Sander, APR of Mother of Pearls Public Relations took home an Award of Excellence at PRSA’s 2016 Silver Anvil Awards. Their PR campaign focused on the Arthritis Foundation’s annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk. The 5K/10K event had witnessed great success in its 25 years of existence until a glut of fun runs compromised participation. The pair created a plan to increase fundraising despite the declining registration. In total, four objectives were set for four target audiences including people with arthritis, fundraising teams, health care providers and event sponsors. Each objective was either met or exceeded – in some cases by 88%! As a result, the Indy Jingle Bell Run raised over $215,000 ($60,000 more than the previous year) making it the third largest fundraising Jingle Bell Run in the nation! This campaign also received an Award of Honor in the External Communications category at the 2016 Pinnacle Awards.

Horvatich currently sits on the PRSA Hoosier Chapter Board as the Director of Communications. She has also served the chapter as the social media chair, a professional development committee member and an advocacy and public service committee member. She graduated from Indiana University in 2009 where she majored in Journalism – Public Relations. Horvatich also has an Event Management Certificate from Indiana University and a Social Media Certificate from the University of Georgia.