Who Wants Your Opinion?

On November 8, 2016 we had a Presidential election in the United States and many people are still talking about the result.

Most people are cautious about how and with whom they share their political opinion. They have these feelings, strong feelings, about ideology or about a person running for office and they only want to share them with certain people. Some people – particularly experts on business relationship development – tell you never to discuss politics, sex and religion with people.

That advice is not only horribly boring, it’s wrong.

Those are the things that fascinate us about each other.

I admit politics has become a powder keg.  I have firsthand evidence. A couple of days after the election I wrote an article with a self-reliance theme. The article title was Vote for Yourself.  I didn’t hide my political ideology in the article but I also didn’t make it the focus. The point I was making: Your actions on a local level, will have more of an impact on your life than the results of any national election.

I sent this article to my readers via email and I posted it on social media.

The reaction was interesting and instructive.

Feedback came in four different forms:

People Who Initially Found Me Offensive

I received several emails and many comments on social media about my condescension and elitism.  Some of these folks took the message to be one of protest on the election results.  It wasn’t.

While some did not engage in a dialogue, the majority did. Most people who had this opinion were surprised when I asked for their thoughts and listened to them.

The conversation was not hostile. It was interesting. I learned about those folks.

People Who Unfriended or Unsubscribed

This has been an interesting lesson.  There are some people who will unsubscribe from my email list when I write something with which they disagree.  On social media they will disconnect from me (“unfriend” on Facebook).  This is an interesting way of handling a differing opinion.  Surrounding yourself only with people who share the same beliefs is dangerous but that’s the subject of another conversation.

Folks who simply went away and never said anything to me are gone. I can’t have a dialogue. They’ve chosen to move on with their lives.  That decision is not about me. It’s about them.  I accept it.

People Who Empathized

My message resonated with many people. Some let me know.  When I had a dialogue with these folks, they told me they were happy “someone said what they were thinking.”

People Shocked I was Talking About a Taboo Subject

This was the most interesting group.

Each day I express an opinion on the articles I write at DaveLorenzo.com When you see me in person, you get a healthy dose of what I think and what I feel.  If you engage me professionally, you do so because you want this opinion – especially if it will help you make more money or improve your quality of life.

In spite of this some people were shocked when I address politics in written form.  They said it would turn off lots of people.  They said it was a subject not acceptable for polite conversation.

Good News

Of the four groups, the group that was initially hostel resulted in two people engaging me (investing money in my services).

Here is the reason:

Emotion creates momentum.  If I aggravate you enough, you will take action toward me – initially to fight but definitely to make yourself heard. If I handle that situation correctly, meaning if I respect your opinion, and I listen, and we begin a dialogue, eventually we will find common ground.

Now the powerful nugget: The momentum from the emotion still exists after we find common ground and it brings us together like a magnet.  People want to find the goodness in others. Agreement is a surrogate for goodness.  When you react negatively to someone, if you find out they have some (or even many) things in common with you, a bond develops.

When I share this thought with people who disagree with expressing a point of view to clients and potential clients, they are confused and I understand why. It is counterintuitive.

You state an opinion and the people who disagree are attracted to you?  Come on!

Test it yourself.  Let your guard down and have an honest dialogue with a client.  See if you become closer.  See if your relationship becomes stronger.  Caveat:  You must be committed to this approach. If you back off midway people will see you as disingenuous and phony.

Here’s the bottom line:

Sharing your opinion will create a strong reaction.  That will lead to:

Some people going away (unsubscribes and unfriending). There’s nothing you can do about that. Those folks would have gone away eventually and they definitely were never going to become great clients. Their skin is too thin to work with you and their passive aggressive behavior would have manifest itself in other, more impactful ways later on.

Some people will react positively. That’s fine and they will be evangelists for you.

Some people will react negatively. These are diamonds in the rough.  Have conversations with them. Seek to understand them. Look for commonality.

Some people will be incredulous that you are sharing what you really feel. This makes you an object of interest.  That will also lead to a deeper relationship if you continue to entertain, captivate and engage them.

Share your opinion.  Good things happen when you do.