How to Talk Politics at Work Without Alienating People   ◆

If you’re going to talk about politics—or really anything potentially divisive and emotionally charged—these four suggestions from Harvard Business Review can help:

  • Focus on learning
  • Ask for permission
  • Show respect
  • Focus on common ground

HBR used actors to represent different styles of communication in a study:

The results were remarkable. When the actors used the four simple skills, they were:

  • Five times more likely to be seen as diplomatic
  • Four times more likely to be seen as likeable
  • Three times more likely to be seen as knowledgeable
  • 140% more persuasive
  • 140% more likely to stay in dialogue with others
  • 180% more likely to maintain relationships with others
  • When these same actors didn’t use the four skills, observers labeled them as “abrasive,” “unlikeable,” and “ignorant.”