With this being new baby week here at Staying Vegan, we’re buying ourselves a little time by posting a few revised versions of some past newsletters that we think could use a fresh look (or a first look if you haven’t seen it before, since we don’t have a list of archives available.) The Staying Vegan Newsletter goes out every Monday afternoon with original content, click here to sign up for your free subscription!
This newsletter originally went out on Dec 21, 2009:
Since there tend to be a lot of get togethers this time of year, and with that a lot of “opportunities” to interact with omnivores over food, I thought it’d be a good time to share some advice I got from some marketing folks some time back (Jeff Walker and Eben Pagan I think – it’s been a while, but this approach hasn’t left my brain!)
When you’re interacting with someone who eats meat and veganism comes up, there are two things you’re probably going to think, almost instinctively, and today I’m going to tell you not to do that.
The first thing that’s going to come into your mind is “you’re wrong.” This is totally natural – if you’re talking with someone who eats in a way you’ve sworn off because of issues like health, animal compassion, the environment, or other reasons, and they’re trying to defend their position, a position that you’ve clearly rejected already, then yeah, they can’t possibly be right, right?
No, this isn’t the part where I’m going to say that there’s an element of truth in their words – you’re right, and good for you! 🙂
That said, when you say or think “you’re wrong” you shut off a TON of your brain, whether you know it or not.
So what’s the big deal, right? After all, they’re wrong, and if your brain isn’t listening to wrong stuff, how can that be bad? I’ll tell you why by telling what I think you should be thinking instead of “you’re wrong”:
Ask “why?” instead.
There’s a reason someone says the things he or she does. Sure, it could be that there’s just a lot of idiots in the world (or maybe just at your parties – what’s up with that? I kid!), but if someone has different beliefs than you do, there’s probably a reason. You might not be able to figure that reason out in every case, but if you approach enough people with “why” instead of “you’re wrong,” I think you’ll find some patterns.
Once you know some of the reasons, you’re going to be less frustrated in these encounters. You’re going to have some counter-arguments ready that go to the core of the beliefs of the person you’re talking with. You might not convert anyone to veganism with this approach, but you’ll have a better chance, and like I said, by learning more about the people around you you’re going to be less annoyed, frustrated, and irritated about being the vegan in a meat-eating world and you’ll instead start being – I’m sorry in advance of how corny this sounds – the lever of change.
Next time, I’ll go into the other thing you can’t think – I’d put them together, but people tend to skim these newsletters and I want to make sure some of the ideas get through!
In the meantime, what do you think? Am I wrong? 🙂 Let me know in the comments!