Commitment and Consistency

CopyBlogger describes the six principles for getting to yes. I'll tackle each one here at Selling Compassion with practical ideas for activism. This is the second of the series:

"Commitment and Consistency — We are driven to remain consistent in our attitudes, words, and actions. So, when we are led to make a commitment of some kind, to go on record or take a stand or make a decision, there is an urge to remain consistent with that original commitment later on. The key is to get the initial commitment, which can appear small, reasonable, and innocent. This commitment can not only lead to compliance via the principle of consistency, but also to further compliance for larger requests."

"Application: Ask for a little 'yes' first, then build on that."
For animal advocates, getting a yes can be easy. Here are some examples:
  • "You care about animals, right?"
  • "You wouldn't abuse your pet, would you?"
After that, one approach: imply hypocrisy if someone says they care about animals yet they aren't vegetarian or vegan.

This triggers their desire to be or to appear consistent. Either they'll agree and go veg or they'll find a loophole. Unfortunately, they'll usually find a loophole ("it's too expensive..." "I don't know how..." "but the Bible says..." "but animals eat animals..."). This is probably because going vegetarian or vegan is seen as a major life change. If were were selling magazine subscriptions it might be a little easier, but we're not, we're selling compassion.

A more effective strategy seems to be a series of small "yes"es that lead up to a larger "yes, I'll go vegan." This strategy takes time. It's not going to happen in one conversation. Animal advocates have to have patience and they have to be willing to put in the time. But I think we can do it. Here's how it might go:

Vegan: "You care about animals, right?"
Nonvegan: "Yes."
V: "Please consider eating one vegan meal. If everyone just ate one vegan meal, we'd save a ton of animals' lives. We're having a vegan food fair this weekend. Come on by and eat a vegan meal."
NV: "OK, sure."

V: "Thanks for coming. Now, would you please consider eating one vegan meal each week? It's a small sacrifice from you that means a whole lot to animals and to people who care about animals. Besides, it could help slow climate change. We have a recipe email newsletter. Can I sign you up?"
NV: "Yes"

V: "I hope you've enjoyed the recipes we've been emailing you. Thanks for committing to eating one vegan meal each week for the last few weeks. Now, would you please consider eating one vegan meal each day? Now you know some vegan recipes - and we'll keep sending you more - so it should be pretty easy for you by now. So what do you say, will you go vegan for one meal per day?"
NV: "OK, I will."

V: "Wow, you're 20-35% vegan now! Well done! Are you willing to up it to 50% or so? Will you make half of your meals vegan?"
NV: "Alright."

V: "You're almost vegan! Why not make things more complete and consistent? Are you ready to go vegan? You've got support here, remember, you've got me and an entire network of vegans backing you up. What do you say? Ready to go all the way?"
NV: "Yes, I'm want to live my values."

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