The 2020 Presidential election is a controversial topic. Everyone seems to have their own opinions about who should win and why. Therefore, whenever you talk about politics at work, you run the risk of landing in the middle of a heated conversation.
So, Should I Talk About Politics at Work?
Ultimately, the correct answer depends on both you and your coworkers. Remember, you’re extremely unlikely to change anyone’s mind. Thus, if you feel passionate about a subject and you KNOW one of your coworkers holds an equally passionate opposing view, your best bet is to steer clear. But, if you and your colleagues are willing to look at things from different angles, political decisions can be a learning experience. Nevertheless, Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Conversations, recommends setting ground rules, so you don’t sour a working relationship. Say, ‘We’re going to talk about this for 10 minutes, each of us will get five minutes to share our opinion, and we’re going to part as friends.’” (Harvard Business Review, 2016)
4 Work-Friendly Conversation Starters If You DO Find Yourself in a Political Discussion
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you still will get caught in a political discussion. To keep the conversation more work-friendly, try using one of these questions.
What Do You Believe Is Your Candidate’s Greatest Strength?
It can be interesting to discover why people feel the way they do. In other words, what makes this candidate so appealing to them? However, proceed with caution, especially if you suspect you will strongly disagree with their opinions.
What Do You Believe Is Your Candidate’s Greatest Weakness?
Often people are so entrenched in their political views, they forget their candidate has ANY weaknesses. This question can help you have a more open-minded discussion. Yet, once again, keep in mind, you’re not going to change their overall opinion. People usually love their candidates despite any shortcomings.
Who Do You Think Is This Year’s Most Interesting Candidate?
If you need to pull away from an increasingly controversial conversation, try shifting the focus from politics to people. After all, most of us would agree, this election presents several fascinating personalities. Plus, you don’t even need to like a candidate to find them interesting.
Do You Have Any Election Day Traditions?
In the end, we may be casting ballots for different candidates, but we’re all participating in the same democratic process. Maybe your coworker votes at the same time every year? Maybe they hold an election-result party? Or maybe they volunteer at a polling place? Focusing on this American tradition, we share reminds us of what we DO have in common.
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