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Jules Hirst, Etiquette Expert

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.

Politics and Etiquette: Incivility in the Workplace and Congress

Here is a great arti­cle form the Boston Globe which dis­cusses inci­vil­ity in the work­place and Con­gress. What do you think? Is there a problem?

Olympia SnoweMaine Sen­a­tor Olympia Snowe is just the lat­est exam­ple in pol­i­tics and busi­ness to demon­strate the ugly effects of inci­vil­ity. She said last week that she is not going to seek another term in the US Congress.

The three-term Repub­li­can sen­a­tor did not make her deci­sion because she was fac­ing a dif­fi­cult reelec­tion bid. Instead, she blamed the intense and some­times destruc­tive par­ti­san­ship in Wash­ing­ton. That, in a nut­shell, is the prob­lem with inci­vil­ity. At a cer­tain point, peo­ple say, “No more. I don’t have to put up with caus­tic, vit­ri­olic, neg­a­tive behav­ior.’’ And they dis­en­gage, refuse to serve, quit their jobs.

It’s not just in pol­i­tics that inci­vil­ity causes a prob­lem. In busi­ness, it is costly to replace a worker. There’s down­time between when a per­son leaves and a qual­i­fied replace­ment is hired. There’s a learn­ing curve for the replacement.

While busi­nesses don’t expect to keep a worker from leav­ing for a good rea­son — a bet­ter posi­tion, a relo­ca­tion — good busi­nesses ensure that employ­ees don’t leave for pre­ventable rea­sons. When a per­son leaves because of inci­vil­ity, that’s preventable.

And it should be unac­cept­able to the Amer­i­can pub­lic. I can accept any elected official’s deci­sion to return to pri­vate life; what is unac­cept­able to me is a res­ig­na­tion caused by the atmos­phere in Con­gress. The atmos­phere of the past few years is reflected in Con­gress’ steadily declin­ing approval rat­ing, which hit a record low of 11 per­cent in Decem­ber 2011. It is time to demand civil behav­ior from Congress.

Rude­ness and inci­vil­ity in the work­place — and Con­gress — are pre­ventable. Pre­ven­tion begins by chang­ing the work­place cul­ture and that means change must be embraced from the top down. That change is grounded in three pow­er­ful prin­ci­ples that should gov­ern inter­ac­tions in the work­place: be con­sid­er­ate, be respect­ful, and be honest.

It’s time for con­gres­sional lead­ers to rec­og­nize that the cur­rent cul­ture is toxic and to take respon­si­bil­ity for restor­ing civil­ity in the House and Senate.

Source:Boston Globe

Writ­ten By: Peter Post

A TITLE IS EARNED.… How to Address a Retired Lt Col

Fox News Channel’s The Five, co-host Bob Beckel expressed his dis­plea­sure with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Allen West’s com­ments about the Democ­rats at the Lin­coln Day Din­ner. Mr. Beckel con­tin­u­ously referred to Rep­re­sen­ta­tive West as Mr. West while crit­i­ciz­ing his views. Co-host Eric Bowl­ing cor­rectly pointed out to Beckel that he should be refer­ring to Allen West as Rep­re­sen­ta­tive or Lt Col Allen West because he had earned both titles.

Here is what eti­quette states:

Although Rep­re­sen­ta­tive or Congressman/Congresswoman are not tra­di­tional hon­orific titles, they do express the person’s cur­rent posi­tion and can be used to refer to the person.

The for­mal form of Mr. (name) or Ms. (name) should be used when address­ing an enve­lope as shown below.

Enve­lope, offi­cial:
The Hon­or­able
(Full name)
United States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives

The proper form for Lieu­tenant Colonel would be Lt Col with­out peri­ods. You do not need to use Retired unless you were address­ing an offi­cial enve­lope. In which case you should use “…

Clark­son, USAF Retired” or “…Clark­son, USAF Ret.”

See exam­ples below for the dif­fer­ences between an offi­cial enve­lope and a social envelope.

For­mal forms for an “offi­cial” enve­lope would be:
    Lieu­tenant Colonel Joe M. Clark­son, USAF, Retired
    and Mrs. Clark­son
For­mal forms for a “social” enve­lope would be:
    Lieu­tenant Colonel Joe M. Clark­son
     and Mrs. Clark­son

    Lt Col Joe M. Clark­son
     and Mrs. Clark­son

Whether you agree or dis­agree with some­one, you should show them the proper respect by refer­ring to them using the title(s) they have earned.

International Protocol: Avoiding a “Sticky Wicket”

Before con­duct­ing busi­ness in for­eign coun­tries, it is impor­tant to famil­iar­ize your­self with the cus­toms and cul­tures of that coun­try. What is accept­able here in the United States may be taboo in that coun­try. By prepar­ing ahead of time, you will lessen the risk of embar­rass­ing your­self and stick­ing your foot in your mouth and poten­tially dam­ag­ing your busi­ness rela­tion­ship. Pres­i­dent Obama is cur­rently mak­ing his first offi­cial visit to Aus­tralia and kudos to him for tak­ing the time to famil­iar­ize him­self with some com­mon jar­gon. Dur­ing a speech at the Par­lia­ment House in Can­berra, Aus­tralia, Pres­i­dent Obama worked in Aus­tralian jar­gon terms like ear­bash­ing and sticky wick­ets while talk­ing about the rela­tion­ship between the United States and Aus­tralia. Hav­ing used these jar­gon terms cor­rectly, Pres­i­dent Obama has shown that he prides him­self in prepar­ing him­self for busi­ness in other coun­tries and hope­fully this will improve our for­eign pol­icy and help get us out of our sticky eco­nomic situation

Rep. Weiner’s Sexting Scandal: Crash Course on Netiquette

Anthony Weiner In light of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sex­ting scan­dal, it is a good time for a neti­quette refresher course. Proper neti­quette can be bro­ken down to two sim­ple rules.

The first being that what­ever you send will never go away. Whether it is a Face­book post, a tweet, a text, an email, or some other form of elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tion, there will always be a record of it some­where. As such, it can always come back to bite you.

The sec­ond reminder being that before you hit send think about what your mother would say about what you have writ­ten. If the woman who brought you into the world would be embar­rassed or upset by your mes­sage, you prob­a­bly should not send it.

Rep. Weiner’s error in judg­ment vio­lated these two sim­ple rules. On top of this, he exac­er­bated the prob­lem by lying about it. What started out as an error in judg­ment exploded into a full scale national scan­dal that raised even more ques­tions. By sex­ting, did Rep. Weiner cheat on his wife? That is a ques­tion to be answered between Rep. Weiner and his wife. Does sex­ting neg­a­tively impact Rep. Weiner’s job per­for­mance? That is a ques­tion to be answered by his con­stituents. What can be answered is that hav­ing taken this neti­quette refresher course you should real­ize that there is an elec­tronic record of your com­mu­ni­ca­tions and you are bet­ter off admit­ting guilt and suf­fer­ing the con­se­quences than try­ing to cover it up and fac­ing a harsher penalty down the road.

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