I’ll be honest, I’m not really into discussing politics, but a recent conversation at work the other day got me thinking about how easy it is to offend someone without even knowing! In a world where actors and billionaires who were once up for ‘water-cooler’ discussion, are now Senators and President’s of the free world, can you offend someone by saying Terminator 3 should never have been made? The answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have an opinion. Here’s 4 tips on how to broach the subject sensitively.
#1 – Get to know your company policy
If you wear a uniform or deal directly with the public, you might discover that you’re required to represent the company that you work for – any misrepresentation could lead to instant dismissal.
#2 – It’s ok to say you don’t want to talk about it
If a colleague isn’t picking up that you’re not wanting to engage in their discussion about Donald Trumps immigration policy reforms, make it clear that you’re not interested in discussing that at work. You may be doing someone else a favour who is quietly getting upset.
#3 – Avoid sweeping statements
Statements such as ‘all those people are idiots!’ should be avoided. Try to use phrases like ‘I would be interested to know why those people support….’. If you are engaged in a political discussion it could be a great opportunity to learn something new and gain a broader perspective.
#4 – Above all, respect other peoples opinions
It’s difficult to understand all sides of any topic. Environment, family, experience, etc. all have an impact on how someone views a particular topic. It’s important to listen as well as share your views. Remember a conversation is a two way street.