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‘The Truth Will Set You Free’: How to become a more effective vegan advocate

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Creating more effective advocates often means finding messages that stick, or tactics that cut through the noise to reach as many people and help as many animals as possible.

FAUNALYTICS: Creating more effective advocates often means finding messages that stick, or tactics that cut through the noise to reach as many people and help as many animals as possible. However, how we communicate our advocacy is just as important as the content of the message. You may approach someone with a persuasive argument, but if you don’t pay attention to how you deliver it, you risk turning them away.

Effective vegan advocacy means communicating in a way that opens people’s hearts and minds, rather than causing them to become defensive. Only then can you be confident that your audience will listen to your message the way you want it to be heard. This may pose a challenge, especially for those who aren’t trained in persuasive communication. To help you, we’ve teamed up with our friends at the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy to create a factsheet with five key strategies for becoming a more effective vegan advocate.

1. Know Your Audience: It’s important to remember that you’re not conducting vegan advocacy for yourself (or for other vegans). This means that the strategies and messages you find effective may not be the right ones for your audience.

When speaking to members of the public, you need to understand them and their needs. For example, are they more concerned about the environment or health than animal protection? Do they live in a place where accessing nutritious vegan food is difficult? Is food a core part of their cultural identity? Figuring out these details will help you tailor your message…

2. Know When Not To Advocate: There’s a right and wrong time for everything, and that includes vegan advocacy. Understandably, many vegans want to maximize their time by advocating for animals at every opportunity. However, if you advocate at the wrong time, you risk creating a backfiring effect.

The trick is to choose your timing wisely. Although it may feel natural to bring attention to veganism while surrounded by people eating meat, this is also when nonvegans’ defenses are at their highest. Therefore, it’s best to avoid engaging in advocacy during mealtimes, or when someone tells you they’re not interested in veganism. After all, you don’t want to force your message on someone who’s not receptive….

3. Focus On Process Over Content: In other words, the “how” of advocacy (how you deliver your message) is more important than the “what” (the content of your message). When you’re too focused on your message, you risk getting into a debate or argument. However, the goal of effective vegan advocacy isn’t to be right, but rather to create a mutual connection with your audience.

Think about a memorable conversation you had in the past. It’s likely that you remember not just the content of the conversation, but how it made you feel. When you’re focused on the process of your advocacy, you’ll communicate in a way that encourages your audience to be open to your ideas. How does process-focused communication work? Instead of sticking to your talking points, be willing to engage in a genuine conversation…

4. Share Your Own Story: When a nonvegan asks you why you became a vegan, it’s easy to share a bunch of statistics about the harms of animal agriculture for animals, human health, and the environment. This tells the other person why they should be vegan, but it doesn’t answer the question: why did you, personally, become a vegan?

By sharing your own journey, you invite your audience to see the world through your eyes. You’re not telling them what to do; you’re simply sharing what you did, and why. It’s difficult to become defensive or argumentative about someone’s personal experience, and your experience can never be wrong…

5. View Nonvegans As Potential Allies: Don’t fall into the trap of adopting an “us vs. them” mentality when addressing nonvegans. Likewise, avoid the misconception that anyone who isn’t a vegan is part of the problem. You may not be able to turn everyone vegan, but you can get people to support our movement.

Many social movements succeed because they have enough allies from the general public to generate change. In other words, you can be just as impactful for animals by creating vegan allies in addition to new vegans. What does a vegan ally look like? They might be someone who takes part in “Meatless Monday,” or a nonvegan who donates regularly to vegan charities. SOURCE…

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