With all due respect Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem...
February 19, 2016
This is more about communication and less about politics.
Scolding people who don’t agree with you is not a great strategy for changing people’s minds. So it’s not surprising that negative reactions to comments by Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright continue to reverberate in our national political conversation.
They were both trying to help Hillary Clinton, but the resulting furor was predictable when they blasted younger women for supporting Bernie Sanders. Have you ever changed your mind or your opinion when someone else criticized or demeaned you for feeling a certain way?
It doesn’t matter what the topic or issue is. Persuasion takes great listening skills, empathy, and a willingness to see things from another person’s perspective. That’s what great communicators and great leaders do when they want to change people’s minds.
When people are resistant to your ideas, find out more about that resistance, address it, and don’t make people wrong for feeling that way. As soon as you give an audience permission to disagree with you, your listeners begin to relax and become more open to what you have to say.
You will never enlist support if you browbeat or demean people. You will only alienate your listeners and attract other bullies!