5 Ways to Steer Clear of Political Conversations at Work
Political issues can often become extremely heated, which is why it is considered bad form to bring them up at family get togethers.
Unfortunately, coworkers don’t always agree with that advice and may bring it up at work.
You don’t want to risk things getting emotional and disciplinary action becoming a factor, so Corporate Wellness Magazine broke down how to diffuse such delicate conversations.
Change the Topic
If you are in a one-on-one conversation, this is a good strategy to get the discussion back to something safer without being confrontational. A simple statement like “oh, before I forget, I wanted to ask you about…” and pick something work related to steer things to.
Smile and Nod
Sometimes you don’t want to give a response to what was said, but it would be rude to outright ignore the person. Just smiling and nodding is often enough to show you are acknowledging you have heard the person while subtly indicating you have nothing to add.
If you are really being pressed for a response, don’t get forced into saying something you don’t want to divulge. Find a noncommittal spin to put on things like “it’s a hard time for a lot of people right now.”
Point Out Things Are Getting Too Heated
If things are really starting to get out of hand or seem to be heading in that direction, you might just have to openly politely request to stop talking about it. State that conversations like this can tend to get people worked up so you’d be more comfortable talking about something else.
If all of the above has failed and the person still wants to keep going on about politics, you might just have to leave the room. You can do this politely by doing something like excusing yourself to go to the restroom. Don’t let someone trap you in a conversation you don’t want to have.
Even if you agree with the person’s politics, word can get around, and someone else might be very upset to know what you have said. It is safer to just avoid the topic altogether with coworkers.
Want more strategies for avoiding getting caught up in political talks at work? Read more tips from Corporate Wellness Magazine here.
David Burkus on why we all need to stop talking politics at work. It’s not just rude to talk politics at work, he believes, but it might even hamper your ability to do your best work.
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