The 2016 presidential election has already been filled with controversy, and it is only set to get more heated as we approach Super Tuesday. There’s a good chance Trump’s brash comments have popped up as a water-cooler topic in your office. Any political topic is a conversational land-mine that you should avoid at all costs. But if you find yourself with no other choice, then use these 5 tips for navigating political conversations at work during this presidential election.
1. Don’t buy into the Red versus Blue mentality
During every presidential election there are people on both sides who equate who they’re voting for to choosing a team. This creates a competitive mentality that brings out the worst in everybody involved. You’ll probably start to notice these teams take shape within your office among those who don’t hide their political affiliations.
2. Have a politician’s answer for a political question
When a politician is asked a question he or she would rather not answer, the answer doesn’t reveal much at all. Mastering this art can get you through any political conversation unscathed. You can even prepare some neutral answers for the topics most likely to come up. For example, if a coworker asks you who you’re voting for, you can say something like “I have yet to make a final decision, as the campaign still has several months to go.”
3. Don’t use social media as an outlet for political discussion
Don’t think you can stay quiet on politics in the office just to get all of your opinions out on social media. What you put on social media is not as private as you think. Even if you aren’t friends with anyone in your office, one of your friends could be friends with them. All it takes is one political Facebook rant to land you in hot water at your job.
4. Try not to judge your coworkers based on who they support
There’s a good chance there are supporters of each candidate at your office. There’s also a good chance there will be at least one person who thinks anyone who doesn’t support the candidate they do is a moron.
Try and forgive this person and see them for how they are when not overcome by the political spell that captivates the country ever four years. One of the biggest mistakes you can make at the office this election season is judging one of your coworkers based on which candidate they support.
5. If you must engage in political debate, use the art of concession
You might still find yourself in a political debate at the office even if you use the previous four tips. This final tip, the art of concession, is your secret weapon. In argumentative strategy, concession is when you admit that your opponent has made a valid point. There are a couple reasons why this is effective.
The first is that showing a willingness to agree, even if it is a small concession, shows you are level-headed. The second is that it catches your opponent off guard and takes some of the momentum out of their argument. Use concession to keep yourself from making office enemies during a political conversation.
Do you have any tips for navigating political conversations at work? Or maybe a question on how to handle the resident political ranter in your office? Reach out to us on Twitter (@PloymintHQ) and we’d be more than happy to help!