What People Teach Us: Bernie Sanders — Making The Case To Detractors

Politics aside, what can we learn from each other?

In this particular example, how do you try and convince someone of your position?

Do you do it in an abrasive manner — yelling, ridiculing, and denouncing the thoughts of that person you’re trying to convince — or do you take the time to calmly ask them what they need, to find out what their perception is and then provide points to either corroborate or question their assertions?

Communication is more about how we acknowledge, speak to, and respect each other more than it is about what our message actually is.

There’s a way to completely disagree with someone without being combative. Unfortunately, we rarely see this approach. We’re used to seeing people on TV and in society yelling at each other, thinking that the forcefulness in their message corresponds to the validity of the message and it’s ability to hold water and be true.

In the end, breaking down our opponent completely while only building ourselves up gets us nothing. Overall, if all the people in an environment don’t feel respected we’re losing their energy to work toward a common mission of support, evolution, and growth in our common environment, whether that’s a workplace, a state, country, or world.

A powerful example of this is when Bernie Sanders spoke face-to-face, one-on-one with a Trump supporter a month after Trump had won the 2016 Presidential election. As he addressed her he confirmed what her understanding was of the issues and then addressed them point-by-point. It was no contentious. It was no condescending. It is balanced with questions, clarifications, explanations, and facts.

It was a rare moment where two sides could meet in the middle with true understanding, speaking to each other, not at each other.

What is unfortunate is that this level of acknowledgement, communication, and persuasion seems to only occur at the individual level, if at all. It is much more difficult to convince masses of supporters gathered with and stoking each other’s emotions.

So…What About You?

  • How do you approach others with your message, acknowledging their concerns while making your own point?
  • How do you open up to and understand the ideas of others?
  • What do you do to make sure you are open to communicating effectively with both those on the side of your cause and those who disagree with you?

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