Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


Talk to Me

Can you talk so I will listen? Can you describe how you feel, simply and with facts? Can you do it without getting emotionally loud?

Most people can’t do that.

Most people never learned how to present what my 8th grade English teacher called a “persuasive argument.” In other words, how could we, as 14-year-olds, convince our parents that we really SHOULD be allowed to go on a date/wear make-up/take a plane trip by ourselves to visit Grandma?  In 8th grade that was the kinds of things we thought about.

Now that we are adults, we have other issues that press our buttons. Politics is one. As the candidates are beginning to throw their hats into the ring for the 2016 Presidential primary and then election, we are already sharpening our swords and putting on armor.3arguing


Let’s try to do something different this time. Since the powers that be (the people pulling the strings behind the scenes) have all the right to talk that their money can buy, all we can do is IGNORE them.

What a concept! And only good up to a point.

They will still be carrying on, even if we try not to notice. And we really do need to participate in the attempt to TRY to have a say.  So what is reasonable? What can we do?

First and foremost, we start by listening. Reading. Learning facts. For every candidate…not just the one or several you like. All of them. That is how you really know.

Read and listen without a chip on your shoulder. Be careful. You won’t like what you read but stay open enough to analyze carefully.

Remember to throw out anything about ANY issue or candidate if it is an editorial. Read only news. How can you know the difference?

News is neutral. It presents who, what, where, why and how. Nothing more. Nothing about how you should feel. No shoulds, woulds, coulds. Just the facts.journalism

Editorials are full of emotional leading. They are a pretty bad example of persuasive arguments. There is a place for that but not when you are trying to gather facts. Editorials will pull you to a position. They will appeal to your sense of outrage and maybe also greed.  But most of all, outrage. If you read something and it makes you angry, it was most likely an editorial.

Second, get into discussion with people who don’t feel the same way you do. Ask an open ended question. Then LISTEN to their explanation. Do not interrupt.  Do not get emotional. Ask more questions. Discuss. Do not get emotional. Yes, I repeated myself. It bears repeating. Do not get emotional. Stay calm in the interest to learn something.

Then you get a chance to talk. This is when you use persuasive arguments to present your viewpoint. No emotions. After all, back in that middle school example, mom and dad are not going to let you go to the dance with that guy/girl if you act like a baby, right? Show your maturity. Now is the time, to show your maturity as an adult who wants to communicate.  To understand, to help others understand.persuasive-writing-grammar-poster-structure-tools

Step by step, build your case for your candidate or position. Using sales techniques, get small agreements along the way. They still may not follow you to the final agreement, but the next time you talk you will understand each other better and it will make more sense.

If you don’t do this…read and listen, then engage in communication with people who feel other than you without emotion, then you are impotent……terribly communicationally impotent. What a shame. When it is something that can be cured and life would be so much more enjoyable.quote-intolerance-is-evidence-of-impotence-aleister-crowley-44879

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I Care—How About YOU?

I just returned home from 3 hours making phone calls for a candidate to the Oregon House of Representatives. I met Ken Moore at the McMinnville Farmers’ Market 3 weeks ago. He asked us to vote for him and I did not ask him what party he represented. I don’t chose the best person that way,

I asked him to tell me what he felt were important issues that he hoped to address if he got elected. He asked me if I wanted to hear his views on education. Of course!

He thinks (and I do also) that is it pretty appalling that Oregon’s graduation rate is only 86%. It makes me wonder why so many kids quit school. But Ken wants to be a problem solver. He wants to make improvements while being careful not just to throw more money at the situation.  He has seen where local businesses can not find employees and one actually provided the equipment and trained the teacher so the students could learn a skill that would make them employable. It is private-public arrangements like this that Ken wants to pursue.  He also wants to reduce classroom sizes because a teacher who is struggling to address the needs of 30 students will miss connecting with some. Be-Informed-Sticker-(6619)

Now I wouldn’t know all that if I had not taken a few minutes to talk with him.  And now that I give 3 hours a week to his campaign I am amazed at the number of people I call who REFUSE to talk with me. They tell me they have no concerns. (I doubt that.) They tell me they don’t get involved in politics. (But perhaps your involvement, by simply informing your elected representatives what you think, might make a big difference.) They tell me they don’t care. (Really? Is that why you were so angry?)ignorance

So many people believe that the existing government is a mess. Some people will vote the party line, not knowing at all if any of the people they will support actually have opinions that complement theirs.

Wake up people! We live in a democracy only because the PEOPLE (remember, WE THE PEOPLE?) use the opportunity they have to share their opinion.Be-informed-vote

If you chose to sit and be silent, the issues you complain about are your own fault. Apathy will not make improvements. It gives power to people who are thrilled you chose to be silent.


Learning to Argue

From Merriam-Webster


intransitive verb

1:  to give reasons for or against something :  reason <argue for a new policy>

2:  to contend or disagree in words :  dispute <argue about money>

transitive verb

1:  to give evidence of :  indicate <the facts argue his innocence>

2:  to consider the pros and cons of :  discuss <argue an issue>

3:  to prove or try to prove by giving reasons :  maintain<asking for a chance to argue his case>

4:  to persuade by giving reasons :  induce <couldn’t argue her out ofargue

Perhaps I am not the only one to notice that the last few years people are very angry when encountering an opinion that is different from what they hold dear.  The most common response seems to resort to name calling and using words that only inflame the situation.  The second most common response seems to be retreat, like “unfriending” someone on Facebook merely because their viewpoint on one aspect of life is not aligned with your own.

Way back in the dark ages, when I was in 8th grade, my English teacher had us prepare a series of speeches. The primary purpose was to help us get more comfortable talking in front of a group of people, but the different assignments had other goals as well.

I don’t remember all the issues we had to address. One was to present a travelogue and I was lucky. My family had been taking vacations around the United States since I was 3 years old and I had a lot of slides to pull to compile a  speech that showed some highlights around the country. My dad let me keep the collection and it is fun to see some of the people and places that made an impression on me.Miss Rivera

The most important speech, however, was “Persuasive Argument”. Most of us presented points we wish we could make to our parents about letting us do something they had already disallowed. Age appropriate, of course.550px-Persuade-Your-Parents-to-Let-You-Wear-Makeup-Step-4

But all of us can learn to “sell” our viewpoints if we wish someone to hear us. When I became a real estate salesperson I was trained by my broker to learn to accept the “no” because we will hear many no’s before we have a “yes.”

I got better training when working for a financial adviser. There it was called “overcoming objections.” For that to work you HAVE to listen, let them talk, while keeping careful notes of what their issues are. Then, point by point, address each one, calmly and rationally, until they agree. Then the next. Then the next. As you gain the small yes to each point, you end up persuading them to your side of the view.

From Merriam Webster


1:  to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action

2:  to plead with :  urgepersuasive-writing-techniques