Avoid Politics and Religion When Networking

Avoid Politics and Religion When Networking

Before I did my graduate work in organizational behavior, I received a bachelor’s degree in political science. As a student, I was very interested in politics — and I still am. Even so, I do not discuss politics while I am networking. Why? Your politics simply aren’t relevant to your professional life and to the goal of building your business. A political discussion in the context of networking is distracting. Even worse, it can be divisive and detrimental to team building.

If you want to build a powerful personal network for business, it is all about collaboration and cooperation. But I have seen political discussions turn many networking groups into a hotbed of anger, anxiety, resentment, and conflict — clearly not a good environment for developing a healthy business network.

Choose Wisely

The topics we choose to discuss while networking are important. Some people say it’s their right to discuss politics, religion, or anything else they want when they network. I completely agree, but just because it is someone’s right doesn’t mean it is a good idea.

I understand that there are political and religious issues about which we have strong opinions — I certainly have some — but you risk damaging your business relationships by bringing them into the networking conversation.

I have been a registered voter since I was 18 years old. Since that time, I have voted in every major U.S. election as a citizen of the United States. I have also been very active spiritually and I have well-established religious beliefs. However, you don’t, and you won’t, know my political or religious views unless you are a close friend. They are irrelevant to my role as a business leader.

Our networking efforts are most effective when we focus on our business mission and goals. Whether inside your organization, during work-related meetings, or while networking, it is wise to avoid politics and religion. Keep the focus on building strong business relationships for your networking success.

3 thoughts on “Avoid Politics and Religion When Networking

  1. Las Ralaciones se construyen desde el respeto al otro.
    Es importante en el inicio de la relación, dejar fuera politica y religión, para que no afecte a consolidar el conocimiento y afecto entre ambos.

  2. Dr. Misner, I am a 5 year member of a BNI chapter. In the last year someone joined in the non profit category. He works for a religious organization that provides support for women who have unwanted pregnancies to persuade them to not have an abortion. He often mentions “the Lord” and “Biblical truth” I don’t feel an issue as contentious as abortion has any place in a business networking group, regardless of your position on it, and the mention of religion should be way off limits. It’s just not appropriate or relevant. Especially not mentioning any specific religion. What is the policy on this?

    1. Hello Care. I’ve recorded a podcast on this topic. I think it will clarify our position fairly well:


      I no longer run the day-to-day operations of BNI. If you can private message me with the city you are in and/or your local BNI Director, I can bring them into the discussion via email. At the very least, please share this information with you Membership Committee so they may have a gentle coaching discussion with the person.



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