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In much of my writings, posts and memes, I suggest that we “tread lightly” when we approach other people about animal rights, going vegan etc. We should not overload them with information, we should check what they are interested in, etc.
Many people seem to understand this, but often (like the other day) I’ll get reactions like this:
“Oh, so we have to give them candy and massage for them to listen to reason? Fuck it, I’ll keep telling them what they need to know no matter how hard they cover their ears.”
It is ironic that this person writes about “what they need to know“, while she seems to be talking more about “what she wants to tell.” I would call this ego-centric communication.
Do we think that continuing to ramble to people while they (literally or figuratively) cover their ears, helps? Maybe sometimes something sticks. But chances are that in the best case we are wasting our breath and our precious time because the person is really not hearing us. In the worst case, our rambling is actually counterproductive.
We need more audience-centered communication. “What they need to hear” is not as important as “what they are open to hear”. I call this principle YANYA, or You Are Not Your Audience. You are not the same as the people you want to reach. Like a car salesman, you have to adapt your message to what you think people like, are interested in, are open to, are ready for.
“Telling them what they need to know” is equal to the car salesman talking endlessly about a car’s horsepower or technical abilities (because that is what fascinates him) to a young parent who is only interested in the safety aspects.
“Telling them what they need to know” may sound noble and courageous and right, but it’s not necessarily what helps animals.
It’s about your audience’s needs. Not your own.