#13 - Tips for Talking Politics at Work

Talking about Politics at Work... 

Just Don't Do It.... 

If only it was that easy!  I honestly even considered completely avoiding this topic myself.  But with everything going on in our political climate, it is becoming increasingly difficult to completely avoid the taboo topic at work.  And, in addition to the never-ending onslaught of news, it just feels more personal - especially when the topic of women's rights comes up.  

So how do you navigate the waters at work and ensure you can continue working with that person across the hall that has a completely different view than you?

TOP TIPS FOR TALKING POLITICS AT WORK

  • KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE  - WELL: Look, if everyone walking into work lately is wearing the latest Nasty Woman t-shirt, then you probably feel more open about talking about liberal politics with your peers.  But remember, every single person has a different perspective (even if slightly) as to why they hold a particular view.  And there is probably at least one person that has a completely different view.  So be extremely aware - read their body language.  If you are making someone uncomfortable, end the conversation (quickly!).  Simply say you have to get back to work. 
  • THOUGHTFULLY TEST THE WATERS: If you are looking for solace and someone to commiserate with, save that for your best friend or partner instead.  At work, perhaps mention a headline or even the latest SNL skit and gauge reaction.  If the person agrees with your take, it's probably safe to share a bit more and be direct.  If they don't, then you have two options.  1) Stop the conversation and get back to work or 2) Be respectful and inquisitive.  There is a very very low chance you are changing anyone's opinion but if you are open to learning more, you'll likely gain more insight as to why they feel that way or even find some common ground!   Speaking of...
  • LOOK FOR COMMON GROUND:  If you are engaging in a discussion or debate, the best way to approach it is to ask questions respectfully, ACTUALLY LISTEN, and find common ground.  Acknowledge the other person's opinion and look for opportunities to understand how and why they may have that perspective.
  • BE RESPECTFUL:   No matter what, you are in a place of employment and you need to be respectful.  While you may completely disagree with your boss's position on the latest coming out of the White House, you still have to work for that person.  There is no room to attack anyone's position.  This is hard, especially when it hits close to home, but remember - be curious!  Understanding more about another person's position will allow you to be more empathetic and find that common ground.

And remember if you even need out of the conversation, just focus on getting back to work!

YOU ARE WORTH IT! 

Best,
MB

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Mary Beth Ferrante