The Lesson I Learned From Cam Newton and The Dab

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Remember a few weeks back when a Nashville-based PR firm owner named Rosemary Plorin wrote an open letter to Cam Newton about his Dab Dance celebration after a touch down against the Tennessee Titans?

I retweeted Plorin’s article and chimed in with 140 characters of my own opinion (because isn’t the entire point of having a twitter account to make-believe that millions of people you’ve never met are dying to hear your inner most thoughts?!). According to several of my Twitter followers trollers who look to pick social media fights, I was on the wrong side of the argument.

I was dismayed when total strangers took time out of their day to spew mean-spirited, defensive and crass remarks (and in some cases, crass memes) in reply to my nothing-of-a-tweet.

I naively engaged with one response. It took 2 seconds for me to realize that I was not traveling down a two-way street. These trollers weren’t interested in engaging in conversation about it. They didn’t want to hear my side or anyone else’s. They are only interested in pushing information one way.

Sound like anyone you know in real-life; someone NOT hiding behind the dark veil of social media, perhaps in the next cubicle over?

This incident reminded me that social media isn’t at fault. Heck, the entire reason I have a job today is because people have a hard time dealing with other people. When we aren’t intentional about the way we connect, we behave and communicate poorly in-person and over email with our friends, coworkers, families, and even customers.

In light of such embarrassing behavior, here are some principles to help us avoid becoming mean trolls in our every-day life:

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain – nobody likes being near a grouch!
  2. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. – How can we learn anything if we’re the ones talking?
  3. Remember: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. – Sometimes it’s hard to resist, but choose your battles wisely. I wish I had remembered this principle before I responded to those tweets!
  4. Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never say, “You’re wrong.” – One of the surest ways of hindering a relationship is using those two words together. Keep an open mind. Maybe you’ll learn something!
  5. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking – Often, people respond with their opinions without thinking first, so the communication is based on emotion rather than logic. When we allow the other person to do most of the talking, sometimes they will talk themselves right out of their initial, emotionally-charged opinion and common ground can be found.

Bonus principle: When all else fails, take a note from Cam Newton and… dab.

** For those who may not be familiar with The Dab, don’t worry… you’ve Dabbed before. Just lean into your arm like you’re sneezing. You’re welcome.

Blog Post written by Lauren Lucas

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