Six Steps to Political Correctness

With the November 2006 elections quickly approaching, heated political discussions can come up at work. Will you be persuading your co-workers that your favorite candidate is the best choice, or will you be offending—or, even worse—making enemies?

Although it may be tempting, discussing politics at work can get you into hot water. Here's a six-point survival guide to make it through the election season with your professional relationships intact.

Don't discuss politics with rivals or unfriendly co-workers. It's possible they are baiting you and will use whatever you say against you.

Don't get drawn into a political discussion by a co-worker's negative comments about your favorite candidate. People get emotional about politics; it's possible you may lose your temper.

Don't make personal comments about politicians with whom you disagree. It's very tempting, but the chances are good that at least one of your co-workers will take it personally.

If you must talk politics, don't interrupt when co-workers make a point. Holding your tongue shows you are listening, and will make them more receptive to your views.

Don't pressure co-workers to agree with you. No one likes a bully.

Don't continue to talk politics if co-workers become angry. Get out of tense conversations before they go past the point of no return.

Don Gabor is a "small-talk expert" and the author of Speaking Your Mind in 101 Difficult Situations. To contact him, visit or call (718) 768-0824.