EJM Designs Limited Blog

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Social Networking: Check the Politics at the Door?

I attend several networking events every week and for the most part I've been wonderfully pleased with the interactions, meeting people briefly, getting to know the face to the tweet, setting up some 1 on 1's. All very on the level, always a step in the right direction.

But I was at a networking event last week attended mostly by business owners and service providers and listened as someone used a good deal of their time to promote the Tea Party Movement. And I was quite surprised.

Cincinnati has always been described to me as leaning conservative. Hamilton County went for the Democratic candidate in the last presidential election. There is a good mix of people on both sides of the political spectrum in this - and most - cities around America. And right now, politically, people all over the country are very polarized. And to take a solid stance on one side of the political arena might be off-putting to those on the other ideological side.

I'm not going to dig into my own personal politics here, but I would have been just as surprised if someone had announced something as polarizing from the other side. Actually, I was. If I remember correctly someone else took some time to promote the idea of ending all war.

It all gets quite messy. But the purpose of this post is more to pose a few questions than anything. I respect anyone who has a passion about politics, a drive to change things for the better. But is a business networking meeting the right place to do that? Is it better to alienate a portion of your potential clientele or business contacts in order to build a greater respect from others? What do you think about mixing politics and business?

Is there a solid answer?


  1. politics and relgion are on my list of 'things not to discuss in a professional converstation'.

    especially when trying to build contacts; it doesnt matter if they are right or wrong about a topic, their money is still good. avoid alienation of a possible future customer by all means; even if its means keeping your mouth shut.

  2. At a job search networking group meeting on Monday, we were talking about what's working and what's not working in our networking efforts. One guy chimed in with some apparent good news, but, when he said, "I'm politically active," it came across as though he could have said, "I'm sexually active."

  3. Alex and Daniel, thanks for the comments!

    For the record: today someone announced that we should all call our senators to put down the health care bill AND passed out a Tea Party card.

    Alex - Totally agreed that both politics and religion are no-no when discussing business things in an open environment. Why alienate someone when you might make them a life-long client?

    Daniel - LOL. Well-said!