Here at Constitution Me one of our goals is to create unity within our nation, and our local communities. We believe that each individual has an important responsibility to rally others to the cause of freedom and limited government. Ultimately this unity comes by sharing a common goal. But how do we talk about Politics or Religion in a society that deems any reference of these topics—impolite?
I find it ironic that society deems these topics improper to talk about; when we find the worst forms of corruption within politics and organized religion. How often have you heard someone say, “I don’t pay attention to politics, all politicians are crooks!” Or “I won’t go back to that church, the pastor only wants my money.” The only way to restore balance to these areas of our society, is to come together to discuss solutions and to shine a light on evil itself. We can all agree there is injustice in the world, but how do we get others to acknowledge it and then join the conversation?
Be a Good Neighbor
How can we become effective communicators for change if we don’t first establish an audience? Step one is: Be a good neighbor. Bear with me I know this may sound a bit cheesy; but in order to unite a community there needs to be trust within that community. By being a good neighbor you can establish that relationship, because naturally people are more willing to listen to someone they feel they can trust. Notice I underlined the word “feel,” rather than use logical reasoning people tend to establish opinions and come to conclusions based on their feelings. How people feel about you and how they feel when they’re around you is so important.
A good neighbor is someone that is actively involved in their community and being an example of high moral character. These individuals participate in community functions at church, in their HOA, or maybe at their child’s little league team or school. The how doesn’t matter because the possibilities are endless, the key is to be active in something. Meet and get to know new people and learn to brush shoulders with people around you. Make impressions. I can’t express how important this is; you can’t influence and better your community if you don’t know your community, if you’re not involved with your community.
Open Your Mouth
Always will be ready to open your mouth. These conversations have to begin somewhere and they can’t begin if we’re not willing to start them. Often times this is the hardest part, we may worry: how do we begin this type of conversation? Or how do I talk about my beliefs without being accused of forcing them upon others? My advice is to start with a question and formulate your question so you can hear what they think. Because your purpose is to start up a conversation, it’s imperative that your question doesn’t allow for a “yes or no” response. You can word your question like, “What do you think about…?” or maybe you turn a remark into a question, “On Sunday I heard…. What are your thoughts about this?” It’s pretty easy to keep things rolling, the trick is to initiate the conversation.
But be sure to listen, this shows respect and assures the person that you care; which I hope you do. Once you ask your question—Listen to them! People love to talk, especially about themselves and their opinions. Once you have listened you can look to establish common ground.
Look for Common Ground
A common mistake people make while engaging in conversation, is they focus on the negative or on the differences that arise. I assure you, that there will be many difference in opinions while discussing these types of topics. Don’t get caught in a sink hole by arguing, focus on the positive and what can unite the both of you. When necessary shift the focus of the conversation to something you can both find common ground on. In this process always be respectful, never fall into petty personal attacks or name calling. You never know who else is listening and the influence this conversation could have on them, for better or worse.
Remember you won’t always agree with each other but you can always find one thing to agree upon. When you do disagree, don’t be afraid to try to change their opinion. At times this is possible and even necessary. Listen to what they have to say and try to understand why they think that way. Once you can recognize the why behind their beliefs you can create a solution. Typically people adopt certain beliefs based on a concern or an uncertainty, find that doubt and then alleviate them of it. Normally prevents people from agreeing with you is a single misunderstanding.
Let’s play out a scenario, that you are talking to your neighbor about gun control: Your neighbor disagrees with the ownership of guns because guns hurt people, therefore people shouldn’t have guns. What is his real concern? You could respond with, “I can see that you are concerned for the safety of people, for that reason you believe the ownership of guns should be outlawed. But if we ban guns, who will turn their guns in–criminals or law abiding citizens?” With this you have acknowledged their concern; remember, people are naturally good and they are concerned for the betterment of society. But sometimes they mistakenly look for solutions through failed policy. Now rather than wait for a response to your question, you can follow up with, “The people that do harm to others are criminals, and criminals do not follow the law. Because criminals don’t follow laws we are only taking guns away from innocent people.” End with a question, it helps them to process your point of view and then formulate a judgement. “If this is about protecting innocent people, wouldn’t it make sense to allow them to have guns as a form of protection?”
From here they can accept your views, they can disagree and say “people may lack training and harm more people, so protection is best provided by police.” or they could say “ I see your point, but people don’t need 30 round magazines for protection.” The possibilities are endless, but it is your job to listen and respectfully respond in this manner to help them overcome their doubts. Our job is to place bridges in their minds, we must “bridge” the gap between where they stand and our principles.
Win Supporters, Not Arguments
I once heard it said: We are here to win supporters, not arguments. Remember you represent a movement or a collective group of people. The way that you represent yourself will help determine how others view you and people that share your beliefs. You will leave an impression. Don’t turn people away from your cause, by misrepresenting it or arguing just to prove you are right.
Have you ever argued with a six year old? I promise no matter how right you are you will be wrong. Due to pride or a lack of understanding a six year old won’t drop it’s belief, and everyone listening will say, “hey that guys is arguing with a six year old.” Don’t come out the bad guy. Cater your message to your audience and logically walk them to your held position. Simplicity is best, if a six year old child can understand your views then anyone can.
Your most effective tools, when it come to gaining supporters, are your manners and your ability to use tact. It’s hard to be hostile to a polite person. Always be polite and create an environment of acceptance. And don’t forget what Winston Churchill said about tact, “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” You may not like someone or what they are saying; if you must inform them of your feelings, be sure to word it in a tactful manner. Never forget your objective, you are here to gain supporters and that is the key to winning arguments.
I would like to refer back to being polite. Please! Don’t get caught up in a name calling battle, I have witnessed how people have a tendency to call those they don’t agree with—insert your preferred slander here—names. This alienates people, rather than create unity. It creates a “us vs them.” We may all think a certain presidential candidate looks like he rolled around in a bag of Cheetos, but that doesn’t mean we have to tell his supporters this. It’s important to use tact and maintain your manners at all times. When you hear others name calling be sure to call them out on it. “Sir, can we have a conversation without name calling?” or “Do you have to call people you don’t agree with stupid? We’re both adults here.” Don’t damage your message by childish behavior.
Out of fear of boring my audience I will conclude this post. I realize there are so many more methods to being an effective communicator and in future posts I plan to write about them. My wish is that those reading this post can learn something from it and lay a strong foundation that leads them to become: master communicators.
I personally have witnessed how following these simple steps, anyone can become an effective communicator for change within their community. Remember, true change begins with honest personal reflection. Evaluate yourself, your thinking, and how others view you. From there you can make necessary changes within yourself and then those around you. If you can become a “master communicator” then don’t rule out the idea of running for public office. Our nation needs good men and women willing to champion American values and defend the Constitution. Keep growing the movement!
Where do we go from here? Here at Constitution Me we are dedicated to the principles of limited government, personal responsibility and defending the Constitution. We believe that the Constitution is the only way to truly unify the American people, and restore greatness to our nation. The Constitution is a literal blueprint given to us by our founders, explaining how our government should function. If we elect righteous leaders that will uphold and defend the Constitution, our country will prosper, freedom won’t be infringed upon, and we will be more unified as a nation. Check out our page to learn more about the Constitution, and how you can get involved in a political party dedicated to defending American values. Remember to check out the Constitution Party and discover ways you can help grow this movement.