How do you communicate with someone that just doesn’t want to listen?
Do you sometimes feel like you say the same thing over and over and it just isn’t sinking in? There’s an unseen barrier that you just can’t get through. No, I’m not talking about when you tell your husband or spouse to take the trash out repeatedly and it seems to go in one ear and out the other. I’m talking about the challenge of communicating conservation and environmental protection to peers and co-workers.
Let’s take the specific work problem I’ve decided to tackle right now, which is printing double-sided whenever possible. It sounds easy enough, but after presenting this topic to the marketing team, which is one department that uses the most paper annually in our company, you would think that I asked them to donate a kidney. So I did some research on framing my message to help me be more effective. I found that to be successful, according to George Lakoff’s interview on the Sierra Club Web site, I needed to speak from a moral perspective. He says that “you’ll get more respect with a moral world view than by throwing facts and figures at people and trying to contradict them and show them that their figures are wrong.” This is exactly what I did by presenting statistics on how much money we could save. I love IBM’s new campaign and how it illustrates the struggles of going green in the corporate world.
On a much smaller scale, my challenge is similar to that facing CEP with framing the message about conservation and clean energy. The advantage I have is working with a small target audience and knowing their specific personalities. I have found several helpful Web sites for ideas on things to implement at work and home, including green.msn.com and green.yahoo.com. Hopefully these will help you frame your message and stay educated on the latest topics.
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