How divided are we as a world? It seems like we can no longer say "agree to disagree" and get on with life. We have to accuse people who disagree with us of being morally bankrupt, but usually with more offensive word choices. When we talk about diversity in hiring we talk about diversity in skin color and gender, but not about ideas.

Now, I don't actually drink alcohol, at all. But I'm urging you to watch this beer commercial from Heineken, U.K. It's absolutely, positively worth your time.

In the commercial, people who aren't told what the purpose of the experiment is are given a few tasks to do. The trick is, the producers have chosen people who are political polar opposites. The people don't know that, though, they just know they have to complete the series of tasks.

After they've built a bar--and a relationship--they are shown video of each other spouting their opposite views, and then asked if they want to sit down and talk and share a beer or walk away.

They choose to sit and talk and learn through the process that people with different views aren't the horrible people we imagine them to be.

Now, of course, this is a commercial and for all I know they had 500 pairs of people who ended up in screaming fights that got left on the cutting room floor. Heineken's Facebook page assures us, though, these are not actors, but "real" people. In other words, it's not scripted.

There have been many instances lately where business people have slammed their clients and potential clients because they believe those with differing views are horrible people. Maybe if Melinda Byerley, who wrote a viral tweet condemning Midwesterners, had taken the time to get to know more people, she would have learned how to have a conversation and find out the things they have in common.

Social media lends itself toward conclusions. Your friend posts something on Facebook and you respond. Someone you don't know jumps in and condemns you--without understanding any of your background. Then a fight ensues and you both walk away thinking the other person is an idiot. Imagine how much better it would be if you found out about each other before making any conclusions about character.

Published on: Apr 26, 2017