In the United States, it is full season for many political races. A little over three months away, the commercials, campaigns and over-signage will be history. The election results will be here; we would like to keep our friends and business colleagues alike.
It seems we are faced with political conversations taking place at most social and business events: on the golf course, a family reunion, business networking event, card game or at poolside. I am a supporter of a healthy conversation and using a conversation to educate and enlighten. It is through education that we become more civil, tolerate and gain understanding of the world around us.
But politics is its own beast. There was a time when we had conversation taboos. We would like to think that political conversations is about educating others but at many events, it seems to turn to my-way-or-the-highway mentality. That is not good, right?
Have I done my homework? How will I come across and do I have ability to handle such a conversation? Do I know the crowd well enough?
Am I looking for information? A better understanding? What is my purpose?
Before you engage in a conversation, a statement or off the cuff comment, think about the type of event you are at.
Be sensitive to the surroundings. There is always a time and place for every conversation, and this is where common sense comes in.
Is it the right place for politics? Just because it is the political season doesn't mean every event needs to hold it own debate. Will I, as a guest, ruin the host's event? Or will I, as the host, ruin the event for my guests?
If and when, remember it takes two to have a conversation. If you find you are cornered or all of a sudden in or around a political conversation that is too heated for your liking, think about your exit strategy.
You have the right to keep your views to yourself, respect others and agree to disagree.
Don't make a statement personal or a personal attack. Remember do your research, talk about the issue or candidate, not the person you're debating with.
Be aware of your voice volume and tone.
The season will come and go. And remember there are many wonderful other topics to engage in. After election day, it's the holidays.