When it comes to making decisions, there’s often a “deal breaker,” that one situation that’ll stop us from moving ahead. If we’re choosing a college, nasty-looking dorms or a sarcastic recruiter might be deal breakers. When we’re car shopping, a mediocre sound system or a pushy salesperson might make us look elsewhere. Even small decisions such which movie to see could be affected by a negative word from a relative or friend.
Playwright Mike Vogel observes that when it comes to romance, a deal breaker might not be whether the guy smokes or the woman hates football. “Now, four little words are being asked earlier and earlier in a relationship: “Do you like Trump?”
Vogel’s recent op-ed piece, “Trump Isn’t Making America Date Again,” highlights a study by Wakefield Research which reveals that 24 percent of Americans who are married or dating (and 42 percent of millennials in that category) say, “Since President Trump was elected, they and their partner have disagreed or argued about politics more than ever, according to the Washington Examiner.” Vogel adds, “Among those who didn’t vote for Trump, 33 percent would consider divorce if they discovered their spouse voted for the president, according to Wakefield. That number rises to 43 percent of millennials with a spouse or partner they discover voted for him.”
It’s important to understand whether you’re talking about Trump or Toyotas, most decision-making is emotional, not logical. We may believe couples can get along despite their political positions, either through mutual respect for differing viewpoints, by choosing their words carefully, or simply not discussing certain topics. But this is usually tough to manage, since most of us act–and react–emotionally. And just the mere words we use can often be deal breakers.
The lesson for public relations practitioners is to always pay attention to potential deal breakers, those words or situations that could create negative emotions and turn people away from buying your product, using your service, supporting your cause, etc. You can’t satisfy everyone, but try to avoid stuff which might turn people off. Choose words and actions carefully, and become your organization’s adviser and conscience. Your thoughts?