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Politics is about persuasion. It's about moving people—from one opinion to another, from indifference to passion. The lessons I learned in politics can also work in everyday life:

1. Let the person know that he's been heard—by repeating what he just said. For example, "So when you say that you want me to get a message out to college-educated women, what you mean is you think there's one big Facebook group where all us college-educated women belong, and I can just post a message?" Sometimes that's all you need to get him to see your point.

2. Use the magic words: "I understand." Followed by however. It has the same effect as but—without sending up a giant red flare that you're about to disappoint that person.

3. Make 'em laugh. When Anderson Cooper asked about conversation I'd had with candidate Obama, I said I wasn't going to tell him about it, because "you're not my Boo." Yes, he laughed, but if your opponent feels like you two are just joking around, he's more likely to concede ground. Anderson's response? "I wanna be your Boo." Yeah, you do.

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