If you’d like to sound like an expert at politics, now you can! According to Anderson Cooper, a CNN news anchor, the truth about political discussions is this: no one really knows what they’re talking about. The trick is to stay up on current events and find issues that you care about. That way you’ll be able to hold your own. Here are his tips.
- Read up on both sides. Pick two top newspapers with opposing views – like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. If you skim their pages regularly, you’ll be familiar with the key issues when talking to either a liberal or conservative crowd.
- Tune in. Follow the political commentary on a major radio or TV show at least once a week. You’ll hear writers, athletes and even scientists debate the big topics of conversation. Besides, it’s good to be able to drop a reference, like “As Charlie Rose said last week...”
- Blend in! If a conversation you know nothing about is in full swing, simply nod your head, make eye contact and say “that’s very interesting”.
Or rephrase the point tactfully. For example, if someone comments, “There’s no way Social Security will be around in 50 years,” you can offer, “Yes, with the way things are going, Social Security has a bleak future.”
- Know how to exit a conversation about politics. Unless you know someone well, don’t attack their point of view on any single issue or their candidate. Most people take politics very personally and you can offend them easily. Instead, say, “You raise some good points,” and change the subject. Or excuse yourself to get a drink and don’t come back for a while. That’s often the most graceful way to exit a conversation.