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These TV debaters trampled the rules–and embarrassed everyone

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

This month’s award for Worst Communicator goes to Mike Shields and Neera Tanden who, during a CNN segment on Georgia's special election between John Ossoff and Karen Handel, show us exactly what not to do in a debate.

First, this is not about politics. It is about two intelligent people with valuable insight to share, who utterly botched the opportunity to present their sides.

As the debate heats up, Shields laughs, smirks, insults and consistently talks over Tanden. She doesn’t improve the situation because she battles back, talking over him. When she does eventually give him the floor, she shakes her head, makes faces and sighs throughout his statements. At one point, they won’t allow moderator Don Lemon to interject, do his job and ask questions.

During the segment, Lemon repeatedly asks, “One at a time, please.” It gets so bad that he threatens, “When I need to get in, let me in, or I will end the segment.”

Ultimately, Shields and Tanden both ended up looking rude, petty and argumentative—and their tirade didn’t benefit anyone, including the viewers at home.

Now, imagine this scenario in your workplace. Perhaps this kind of discourse is even the norm—and that’s a big problem. Even when two people are on polar opposite sides of a debate, it is unacceptable to yell, talk over one another or toss out insults. It may just be up to you to play the role of moderator, as Lemon did so well, and put an end to the behavior.

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