Speak Regardless of Who Is Listening

Complex messages can be daunting to get across to your audience. You have to put your creative cap on to develop good strategies for simplifying what you have to say. One method I like is using metaphors. In other words, replace what is intricate and involved with something plain and straightforward.

The trouble, of course, is that when a part of your audience doesn’t like what you have to say, your simplified message may not have the intended result. Take, for example, Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess’ blog post explaining consent. She asked her readers to imagine that instead of initiating sex, they were making someone a cup of tea. RDPP’s post was then transformed into an animated video:

I remember watching the video, then absorbing the message more deeply by reading the original blog post, and ultimately feeling inspired, hopeful, and heartened. This was when I made the mistake of scrolling through the comments, where I found the usual assortment of defensive pushback and hateful troll-speak. I took some deep breaths and walked away from the computer at that point.

But here’s the thing: just because your message doesn’t seem to be changing any minds doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be sharing it. What if it’s slowly chipping away at someone’s attitude, and you just can’t tell yet? Consider that the many vocal responses to a message come from those on the extreme ends of the spectrum: those who agree with you completely and those who absolutely refuse to see the truth in what you say.

When I think back to moments when someone close to me has changed their mind on an issue, I can recall that before the mental shift occurred, they spent a long time thinking about the issue and reading up on it, even though they may not have been vocalizing their opinion online or even in conversation to others. That’s why I encourage you to be brave and express yourself when it comes to contentious issues, provided you’ve carefully crafted the message to make your statement accessible to an audience you may not realize you have. Why not plant that seed of a thought and see if it eventually turns into a thriving tree?

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