Setting Goals for Advocacy Conversations

The key to successful interpersonal advocacy is making a good pitch for abolitionist veganism. Of course, making a good pitch can be challenging. In an effort to clearly and succinctly articulate what you believe and why, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the ideas you’d like to communicate.

It’s important to remember that not every opportunity to discuss veganism with someone is going to end with a new person deciding to make the change. It would be imprudent to try to achieve this goal every time you speak to someone about your views (and to become discouraged if you don’t succeed). So, what are appropriate goals to set for these sorts of opportunities?

Depending on a variety of circumstances–the person’s displayed level of interest, the environment, whether you suspect you’ll be able to talk to this individual again, etc.–you might have different goals, such as:

1. to have a future discussion about animal rights with this person,
2. to convince the person to read a specific abolitionist book or resource,
3. to correct a particular misconception the person is harboring,
4. to make the person feel differently about what vegans and animal rights advocates are like,
5. to show the person that there is a difference between you and other (non-abolitionist) animal advocates, or
6. to persuade the person to become vegan.

If you are short on time, but suspect you’ll see the person again soon, you may just hope to achieve (1). If the person seems to be fixated on a specific issue, you might just aim at (3) for the time being. And if a person seems interested and receptive, then (6)–persuading them to become vegan–might be the most appropriate goal. Again, it’s always going to depend on the circumstances. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pitch.

Chances are you’ll find yourself in each of these situations plenty of times throughout the years. Some conversations are bound to be more fruitful than others. But the better you are at identifying early in an encounter what you can reasonably achieve in the discussion, the more likely you’ll be able to have success along the way.

If you have a chance, practicing how you’d go about handling these various scenarios with a fellow abolitionist advocate can go a long way toward helping you feel ready and comfortable when you’re given the opportunity to talk to someone about veganism. You might start by taking turns imagining scenarios for each other and role playing how you’d respond. And importantly, one question you can always be practicing and refining on your own is: why am I vegan?