Yes, I believe everyone should talk about politics while networking … if they’d like their network to go up in flames, that is.
I admit that I chose the headline to get your attention. But to be clear, talking politics in the course of doing business — or networking for business — is definitely not a good idea.
Given the current highly divisive presidential election campaign, I thought it was a good time to write about politics and networking. Entrepreneurs often have very strong opinions about who should be their leader, and those opinions often bleed over into networking meetings.
Before I did my graduate work in organizational behavior, I received a bachelor’s degree in political science. As a student, I was very interested in politics — and I still am. Even so, I do not discuss politics while I am out networking. Why? Your politics simply aren’t relevant to your professional life and your goal of building your business. A political discussion in the context of networking is distracting, and even worse, it can be divisive and detrimental to team building.
If you want to build a powerful personal network for business, it is all about collaboration and cooperation. But I have seen political discussions turn many networking groups into a hotbed of anger, anxiety, resentment and conflict — clearly not a good environment for developing a healthy business network.
When I bring this subject up with other people in business, some say it’s their right to discuss politics, religion or anything else they want when they network. I completely agree, but just because it’s someone’s right doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Latest posts by Ivan Misner (see all)
- Why Everyone Should Talk Politics While Networking - June 22, 2016