It is important to educate yourself on the questions that you are likely to receive. You need to be able to explain why your message is good and how it is beneficial for individuals, couples, families and society. Try to steer away from superficial answers and to delve right into the arguments themselves.
You will need to clarify your mission repeatedly for those who misunderstand and misrepresent it. Be careful to keep a positive, sincere, and confident tone that never attacks others for their criticism, but instead corrects their erroneous claims. Start off on the right foot by making your group (both its leaders and its mission) attractive to others, even to those who disagree with you.
“Defending those good old “traditional principles” is a noble mission, and it is just that – a mission. As we strive to promote principles on campus and in our lives, we must be willing to continually learn and develop. It is an intellectual journey, but it is also a journey in communication and love. We have the earnest responsibility to be humble and understanding…we are most effective when we utilize a rhetoric and a mindset that is both logical and full of grace,”
– Rachel Wagley, True Love Revolution, Harvard University ’11
Tips for Speaking Effectively
- Rehearse the basic form of a key argument before you use it in conversation.
- Get people who disagree with the whole package of your views to defend publicly the parts with which they do agree. This provides a good credibility boost and is a good way to work with those who disagree.
- Take advantage of the social prestige or credentials of group members.
- Be wary of personal testimony as a form of persuasion; it’s riskier and opens up the possibility of more perverse ridicule.
- Be on the lookout for double standards in people’s treatment of your views or advocacy.
- Never play the victim or ask for special treatment. Always be cheerful!
- In a debate, be aware that you are starting at a disadvantage. Make a point to do more than criticize your opponent’s view–show people what the best option out there is.
Interested in learning more? Email Brittany Crippen at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the Love and Fidelity Network’s student manual.
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