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Jules Hirst, Etiquette Expert

Politics in the Workplace

10 Tips on How to “Talk Politics” When There is No Escaping it!

Politics in the Workplace

We should all know we never speak about “Pol­i­tics” at the din­ner table, at a gath­er­ing with fam­ily or friends, the office, but what are you to do when there is no escap­ing it. Here are 10 tips writ­ten by Diane Gotts­man of The Pro­to­col School of Texas.

1.  Allow the other per­son to state his or her opin­ion - Don’t inter­rupt – allow oth­ers to make their feel­ings heard.

2. Ask ques­tions – Even if you dis­agree with the com­ments of oth­ers, show respect by ask­ing per­ti­nent ques­tions. You may be sur­prised to learn some­thing new!

3.  Keep your voice down to a low roar- Don’t allow your­self to get worked up and start a shout­ing match with your cowork­ers or din­ner guests.

4. Edu­cate your­self on impor­tant issues – It’s impor­tant to at least be famil­iar with the beliefs and plat­form of each can­di­date to allow for knowl­edge­able dis­cus­sion. Remem­ber, being well-informed is always best!

5.  Don’t take it per­son­ally – Keep the dis­cus­sion in per­spec­tive and ask your­self how much anx­i­ety and con­flict you are will­ing to undergo at the office or with friends by argu­ing over who the bet­ter can­di­date may be. Never resort to name call­ing or shame tac­tics, “I can’t believe you are that ignorant!”

6.  Vote – it’s a cop-out to say, “I don’t like any of the can­di­dates so I’m not going to vote” – if you don’t vote for some­one, any­one, you have no room to complain.

7. Pol­i­tics is not off lim­its at a din­ner party or social event – be pre­pared! You can answer with “I’m off polit­i­cal debate duty tonight – argue amongst your­selves” and opt out or jump in and make your point. Do what feels right but always keep in mind you are a guest and don’t want to offend your host.

8. Keep it clean – Use your best judg­ment and keep your inter­ac­tions civil – you host will thank you for not incit­ing fur­ther furor among his or her guests.

9. Don’t assume that every­one wants to talk pol­i­tics – Ask­ing some­one how he or she intends to vote in the elec­tion is inva­sive unless the infor­ma­tion is offered first.

10.  Use your sen­si­tiv­ity train­ing – Be mind­ful of how you are mak­ing oth­ers feel by voic­ing your strong opin­ions and avoid monop­o­liz­ing the entire con­ver­sa­tion with pol­i­tics. Have other con­ver­sa­tion top­ics handy in your con­ver­sa­tional arse­nal to pull from when the con­ver­sa­tion is too heated.

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