Knowing what to do will make your life better.
So will knowing what not to do.
Knowing what to say will improve your conversations.
So will knowing what not to say.
Want a quick way to recognize what not to do or say? Want a simple and direct way to identify and avoid some of the worst communication landmines?
Go to the comments and feedback sections that follow articles and blog posts on the web. Read what people have written and posted in response.
A handful of comments will provide new insights or outlooks. A few will fill in new information.
But most will show you what you should not do or say — IF you want to influence or persuade the writer or readers.
All too many insult the writer, other readers, and anyone else who doesn’t agree with them.
Many make rude and sarcastic comments.
Some condemn and denounce people who have a different point of view.
Others are dripping with hate and bitterness.
Some try to taunt or antagonize those who disagree with the commenter.
Too many exhibit basic errors of logic.
Each time you read a comment or posting that irritates or annoys you, write it down.
Every time you find one that pushes your buttons or tees you off, write it down.
When you read a remark that makes you mad enough to swear, write it down.
Do this with 10 or 15 comments sections. Then look at your list. Even if your list has 20 or 30 examples, it’ll have only 5 or 10 different landmines.
Write your 5 or 10 communications landmines on a filing card, tape it in plain view of your computer keyboard — and do not do them. Do not plant these landmines — and do not step on them.
The very things that irritate or anger you will usually have the same effect on others. If you stop saying and doing things that provoke or frustrate others, you will find that others are far more receptive and responsive to your libertarian ideas.
And far more friendly and open-minded toward you.
Sometimes it’s the things we don’t do, the things we don’t say, that make the biggest difference.
Michael Cloud’s latest book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.