© Earthly Gains Ltd 2017-2018
This page contains recent blog articles written by members of the Earthly Gains team or its associates.

Does preaching about climate change make any converts?

By Martin Gibson First published July 29th, 2013 Most people would agree that they don’t like being preached to, even by a good preacher, says Martin Gibson – so what can you do instead? People will often think you wiser if you ask intelligent questions rather than talk a lot – just like Socrates. Ever bought double glazing? If you did, I wonder if you found the experience as enlightening as I did. Picture the scene, a 1970s built, three-bedroom house. Double glazing will have lots of benefits. It will make the house more comfortable, more energy efficiency and easier to maintain. It will, of course, have a cost.At first, I assumed the cost would only be money. I soon learned that it would also be wasted time and a mixture of boredom and annoyance. The extra costs were due to poor communications. My wife and I asked three companies for quotes to install double glazing. The salesmen from each company had obviously been trained to cover all the benefits of their products. Their scripted patter lasted for about 15 minutes. After all, once in your house, they seemed to think they had to stay there for some time to make it worth your while. One of the salesmen went back to the beginning of his presentation when we asked a simple question; he didn’t answer the question. Another salesman insisted on showing how hard it was for a person trying to break into a house through their window units. The video seemed to go on for hours, though it was probably only about ten minutes. The reason it seemed to take so long was that we got the message in ten seconds and after that it was of no interest to us. When we mentioned that we had had enough, the salesman simply became more insistent that it was interesting and we should watch it carefully. Funnily enough, we didn’t buy double glazing from any of these people. However, it was a useful learning experience. Next time you watch a person trying to convince someone that climate change is real and largely partly man- made, think of those double glazing salesmen. Is the convincer adopting the same tactics as those salesmen? Are they taking the role of the person who knows everything and is going to explain it whether the listener likes it or not? Do you think that they will be successful in altering a sceptic’s opinion? There may not be a perfect way to change the mind of a sceptic but talking at them is very unlikely to work. The use of the words ‘being preached to’ come to mind – most people would agree that they don’t like being preached to, even by a good preacher. So what might help? One of the old sayings for good communications is that you have two ears and one mouth, so try to listen twice as often as you talk. There are also thousands of years of experience that show this is good practice. Socrates was noted for his questioning approach to debate, giving rise to the Socratic method. People will often think you wiser if you ask intelligent questions rather than talk a lot. So, if you ever find me preaching rather than engaging in conversation, please give me a polite reminder that being a good listener and questioner has an important role to play in helping to change minds. (Note: this article was originally published on 2degrees but they have since changed the site and it is no longer available. Get in touch if you would like to know more about communicating sustainability and environmental issues.
© Martin Gibson, trading as Earthly Gains, 2017
This page contains recent blog articles written by members of the Earthly Gains team or its associates.

Does

preaching

about climate

change make

any converts?

By Martin Gibson First published July 29th, 2013 Most people would agree that they don’t like being preached to, even by a good preacher, says Martin Gibson – so what can you do instead? People will often think you wiser if you ask intelligent questions rather than talk a lot – just like Socrates. Ever bought double glazing? If you did, I wonder if you found the experience as enlightening as I did. Picture the scene, a 1970s built, three-bedroom house. Double glazing will have lots of benefits. It will make the house more comfortable, more energy efficiency and easier to maintain. It will, of course, have a cost.At first, I assumed the cost would only be money. I soon learned that it would also be wasted time and a mixture of boredom and annoyance. The extra costs were due to poor communications. My wife and I asked three companies for quotes to install double glazing. The salesmen from each company had obviously been trained to cover all the benefits of their products. Their scripted patter lasted for about 15 minutes. After all, once in your house, they seemed to think they had to stay there for some time to make it worth your while. One of the salesmen went back to the beginning of his presentation when we asked a simple question; he didn’t answer the question. Another salesman insisted on showing how hard it was for a person trying to break into a house through their window units. The video seemed to go on for hours, though it was probably only about ten minutes. The reason it seemed to take so long was that we got the message in ten seconds and after that it was of no interest to us. When we mentioned that we had had enough, the salesman simply became more insistent that it was interesting and we should watch it carefully. Funnily enough, we didn’t buy double glazing from any of these people. However, it was a useful learning experience. Next time you watch a person trying to convince someone that climate change is real and largely partly man-made, think of those double glazing salesmen. Is the convincer adopting the same tactics as those salesmen? Are they taking the role of the person who knows everything and is going to explain it whether the listener likes it or not? Do you think that they will be successful in altering a sceptic’s opinion? There may not be a perfect way to change the mind of a sceptic but talking at them is very unlikely to work. The use of the words ‘being preached to’ come to mind – most people would agree that they don’t like being preached to, even by a good preacher. So what might help? One of the old sayings for good communications is that you have two ears and one mouth, so try to listen twice as often as you talk. There are also thousands of years of experience that show this is good practice. Socrates was noted for his questioning approach to debate, giving rise to the Socratic method. People will often think you wiser if you ask intelligent questions rather than talk a lot. So, if you ever find me preaching rather than engaging in conversation, please give me a polite reminder that being a good listener and questioner has an important role to play in helping to change minds. (Note: this article was originally published on 2degrees but they have since changed the site and it is no longer available. Get in touch if you would like to know more about communicating sustainability and environmental issues.