A 2017 survey of 500 full-time employed Americans commissioned by BetterWorks, a California-based software company, finds that workers report spending an average of two hours per day reading political social media posts. Nearly 50 percent of respondents reported seeing a political conversation turning into an argument in the workplace, while 29 percent of respondents say they’ve been less productive since the election.
Avoiding political topics is still the safest route for sales conversations, but if one finds themselves engaged in a discussion about the headlines out of the White House, Melody Wilding, a career coach for women, and a guest columnist at Forbes.com, offers these tips:
• Know your triggers and watch for them.
Politics are often personal. You may have strong feelings about a woman’s right to choose, or your family has been directly affected by immigration policies. Self-awareness can help you regulate your emotions rather than lose control and do something unprofessional that you will regret.
• Frame differences as a learning opportunity.
Being interested in someone else’s thought process can be a great reason to engage in a political discussion. Avoid viewing it as a chance to change someone’s opinion.
• Know your facts and admit when you don’t.
Blustering through an ill-informed argument will only do damage to future conversations. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you aren’t up to speed on a particular issue. Try saying, “Wow, interesting! I’d like to do more research on this today after work.”