Imagine this scenario: You attend a networking event and, as you are introducing yourself as a professional in your specific industry, you are asked about your political view. After trying to avoid the topic, you are pressured to respond, only to find that you are now snubbed because of your opinion. This person was someone you envisioned doing business with and because of your political differences, you no longer see collaboration as a possibility.
In today’s politically charged environment this situation is occurring everywhere. The current political climate has forced its way into families, households, media and business. People are unfollowing friends and acquaintances based on their political leanings. Many individuals feel the need to only associate with those who share their same views and surround themselves with “their type” and refuse to connect with others.
To insert politics when trying to connect with other professionals may cause you to lose a prospective client or business associate that could have become someone who would further your business or career. We are all entitled to our own views and opinions, but you never want to jeopardize your personal and business relationships due to political differences.
Even though this subject is a sensitive one, there are obvious ways to avoid politics in business. First and foremost, stay focused on the reason you are meeting the person. Second, if someone pressures you to give your personal political opinions, advise them that you never discuss politics with business. Third, if they still won’t take no for an answer, this is probably not the type of person you want to do business with anyway.
Ultimately, ask yourself this question: Are someone’s political beliefs more important to me than the business connection? Or is the connection more important? Remember, politics change like the weather. At the end of the day, you have to make the decision and live with the outcome.