- Join the Community: People engage and consume information that affirms their identities and aligns with their deeply held values and worldview, and avoid or reject information that challenges or threatens them. Think of communication less as a megaphone and more as a gift to your audience. Does it help them solve a problem? Does it make them feel good about themselves or see themselves as they want to be seen? Does it connect to how they see the world and provide solutions that are actionable? If we want people to engage and take action, we have to connect to what they care about and how they see themselves. How to apply this principle: Identify a group whose change in behavior could make a profound difference for your issue or inspire others to take action, and figure out how to bring that group value.
- Communicate in images: How to apply this principle: Use visual language instead of abstract concepts to help people connect with your work.
- Invoke emotion with intention: How to apply this principle: Think about what you’re trying to get people to do and how they would feel if they were doing it. Then think about stories that would make them feel that way.
- Create meaningful calls to action: How to apply this principle: Review your calls to action to make sure they ask communities to do something specific that will connect them to the cause and that they know how to do.
Tell better stories: How to apply this principle: Go beyond simply sharing messages to telling interesting stories with a beginning, middle, and end
BY ANN CHRISTIANO & ANNIE NEIMAND
On March 10, 1748, John Newton, a 22-year-old English seaman who had worked in the slave trade, was traveling home on a merchant ship after a series of misadventures,
including being captured
and enslaved in Sierra Leone. On
that day, a violent storm struck
just off the coast of Donegal, Ireland. Rocks ripped a hole in the side of the ship, and it
seemed unlikely that the vessel would make it safely to shore. Newton prayed and committed
to devote his life to Christianity if the ship was spared. At that moment—the story
goes—the ship’s cargo shifted, covering the hole and allowing the ship to limp to port.
Newton kept his promise, eventually becoming an Anglican priest. Most famous perhaps
for composing the hymn “Amazing Grace,” the former slave trader dedicated himself
to ending the slave trade. In 1787, he joined efforts with others to found the Society for
Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Their members included Olaudah Equiano, a
former slave whose storytelling abilities and autobiography made the horrors of slavery
real. Josiah Wedgwood, an industrialist, created a logo for the campaign that inspired
empathy and connected with the horrifying inhumanity of slavery. The emblem pictured