Resources  >> Communication Lessons from the U.S. Presidential Election

About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  November 10, 2016

Communication Lessons from the U.S. Presidential Election

Before you join the conversation, listen first.

Well, that was fun—not. The election here in the U.S. is finally over. For me, being on social media during the crazy season was my biggest teacher on many levels.

One of the biggest lessons I learned: how to tell if I can have a civilized conversation. Here is the three-step process I use to open the door:

1. Listen first. I would read their post and ask myself: What do they think is important? What do they really care about? And most important: How passionate are they about this idea? The latter question determines if we can have a respectful conversation or not.


Listen: Find out Vickie’s two deciding factors for posting a comment on a social media post.


2. Find areas of agreement. Given the post or response, what items can you agree with? Can you agree with the agenda behind the opinion? The feeling of joy/frustration, etc? Use that as a door opener. If folks reciprocate, then you can have a great conversation. If they take the agreement and not give back, that’s a sign that they can’t hear another opinion.

3. Explore the narrative. If you have an opening, don’t take the opinion head on with facts. Instead, find out why this issue is important. This leads to swapping stories and is a great way to expand understanding.

Thought leaders can only influence to the extent that others will allow. Using this process will not only help you find great conversations but also avoid shouting matches.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.