From the moment people find out that you are vegan, you are bound to be peppered with endless questions. So, if you want to be able to get your message across without putting non-vegans off, here are some of the dos and the don’ts of talking about veganism.
Some of these are genuine, while others might be intended to poke fun at you. Regardless of the sentiment behind them, you can’t ignore these queries.
Remember, you are a spokesperson for the cause. In this way, you can’t let such an opportunity pass you by.
Every time you spread a message about your plant-based and cruelty-free lifestyle, you increase the chances of helping someone see the light.
As you are well aware, though, talking about veganism can be a rather tricky thing.
This is because even when people ask you questions, they aren’t necessarily ready to hear the answers that you need to give.
What’s more, omnivores can be so caught up in their stereotypes that it can be difficult for them to digest what you are saying.
Do- Have an Elevator Pitch
The truth is that nobody wants to receive a lecture after asking a question. There is a good chance that the person who asked you, “why are you vegan?” is just being polite.
Not to mention, you are sure to turn people from the topic altogether if you go on a rant.
This is why it is a good idea to create an elevator pitch about why you chose to go vegan.
As with most vegans, you probably have more than one reason why you transitioned to this lifestyle.
However, covering them all could end up burdening your friends, guests, or acquaintances unnecessarily.
So, think about the fundamentals that people need to know about. Again, make sure to keep it brief and to the point.
If people want you to expand on a specific element, they will ask you to do so. It is best to wait for that invitation.
Don’t- Broach the Topic While Eating
Now, this may seem like a rather odd point. After all, the topic of your veganism is often broached at the dinner table.
It is only when you eat that most people will discover that your lifestyle is different from their own.
So, why shouldn’t you launch into your pitch at this point? Well, for one thing, the people around you will certainly not thank you for it.
They will not appreciate being grossed out while eating. Furthermore, they will be less likely to see your point of view.
Rather than pushing their plate aside, it is more probable that they will get defensive about their diet.
When you find yourself in such a position, inform everyone that you will discuss the matter after dinner.
Inform them that they will not enjoy this conversation at this moment and promise that you will list out all your reasons why, later on.
Do- Use “I” Statements
As you may well know, being judgmental isn’t going to get you anywhere with non-vegans.
Furthermore, it isn’t a reasonable stance to take, either. Keep in mind that unless you were born into a vegan family, you were probably an omnivore for a particular portion of your life.
The people you are talking to are largely just uninformed.
Adding to this is the fact that quite a few omnivores get defensive when you begin to talk about veganism. This is rather understandable.
Not only are you challenging their way of life, but you are also critical of how they eat and live. As you can imagine, this isn’t something that people will be open to.
This is why “I” statements are essential. Rather than talking to people about what they are doing wrong, focus on the reasons that you chose to go vegan. Once more, it is essential to avoid sounding accusatory in any way.
So, stick with statements like:
“I avoid eating meat because…”
“I don’t use or weather leather because…”
“I don’t feel comfortable about…”
When you use personal language such as this, you are telling people your point of view in a non-judgmental way.
Therefore, there will be nothing to get defensive about, and they may be more open to what you have to say.
Don’t- Give Sarcastic Answers
Let’s be honest; you probably have a laundry list of questions that you have been asked a million times.
Many of them would include “how do you get your protein” and “don’t you miss bacon?”.
Now, when you have heard this one few many times, it is natural to want to reply with quips.
This is especially true when you feel someone isn’t genuine with the questions.
Well, even if you think so, it is crucial to avoid being sarcastic. Remember, while this may be the hundredth time you’re talking about veganism, it could be the first time the questioner has asked you about it.
If you are facetious with your answer, you will end up giving them a negative impression of your lifestyle.
Try to be as patient and genuine as possible. Stick to the facts and keep your answer brief.
Do- Cater to Your Audience
As mentioned, there are many different reasons to go vegan. While you may have done it for ethical reasons, others may have done so for health purposes.
Then there are those that may have gone vegan to reduce their carbon footprint.
Before you start talking to someone about veganism, consider your audience for a moment. What do you think they will most be moved by?
If the person seems like an intellectual, then scientific facts are the way to go. On the other hand, if they appear to be an animal lover, you can talk about inhumane farming practices.
When people hear information they can relate to or are more likely to understand, they will have an easier time absorbing what you are saying.
This is because, to a certain degree, it will be consistent with things they are familiar with or already know to be true.
Don’t- Get Argumentative
You are bound to meet that one person who is unnecessarily belligerent or argumentative. They don’t care about what you have to say.
They may not be all that concerned about anything you tell them. Instead, they are more interested in getting the point across and perhaps even embarrassing you in the process.
When you are faced with people like this, it can be tempting to beat them at their own game.
Unfortunately, this means you would need to become loud and aggressive as well.
What’s worse, it isn’t going to make any difference since this person already has their mind made up.
The only consequence of this interaction is that it will make any looker-on think of your poorly. So, keep your cool and stick to your own standards.
Do- Know When to Walk Away
Being a passionate vegan means that you can be in danger of becoming preachy.
Or, you may be faced with someone who is unrelenting and be tempted to continue to stick to your points.
The problem here is that, after a while, you will lose the higher ground. It doesn’t matter how compelling your perspective is if it goes on too long.
This is why it is essential to know when to quit. Having a prepared elevator pitch will prevent you from rambling on long after everyone has lost interest.
Keeping an eye on the mood of your audience can help as well. And, if you don’t seem to be getting through to someone, just walk away.
Don’t- Forget About a Call to Action
If you are lucky, you are going to find someone interested in your story. This is a rare opportunity, so make sure to utilize it wisely.
To start with, make sure to get that person’s email address or phone number so that you can send some links that are related to what you were saying.
In case you feel there is a chance for a budding friendship, invite them to a vegan café or an animal sanctuary if they are an animal lover.
This gives you the opportunity to continue to keep this person engaged and interested in veganism.
It is also a good idea to have some helpful websites memorized as well. This way, if someone wants more information, you know exactly where to send them without hesitation.
As a result, you may be making it easier for them to take that first step into a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
As you can see, there are quite a few points to remember. This is because this isn’t a small or minor topic.
So, you want to make sure that you get it right.
After all, if you do, the payoff could be introducing someone else to a plant-based or cruelty-free lifestyle.
So, even if you have to make an effort, it is entirely worth it!
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