In an article in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed concerns that many Americans say they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. An article subheading entitled “Debunk false statements about vaccines with respect” states, “Fauci said there’s a hardcore group of anti-vaxxers ‘who, no matter what you do, you’re not going to change their mind.’ But there’s also another group of people who are against vaccines because, Fauci said, ‘they’ve absorbed misinformation.’ Fauci said people should not ‘denigrate, accuse or disrespect people who don’t want to get vaccinated if you feel you want to convince them to change their minds. If you could, in a way that’s [non-confrontational], give them the correct information, you may be able to win them over.'”
This statement from Fauci echoes a case I often make about attempting to win people over to your side – especially on social media. I regularly say that we are never going to be able to argue or shame people out of their positions. The way to win people over to your side is to focus on the positive benefits of your side of the disagreement. With time, we can often coax people over to our way of thinking.
The problem with blaming and shaming is that it doesn’t give people any wiggle room. And once people feel cornered they go into fight mode (and often double-down on their position). We are much better off to focus on the positive and work to coax people out of their corners. This is the approach I take with RECK for All on social media. I might point to a problem, but then I quickly shift to how we can best fix that problem through having respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness (RECK) for all people.
This is true of several aspects of this pandemic. Take mask wearing as an example. If we want to win people over to wearing masks then we need to keep selling them on all of the positive reasons why it is wise to wear a mask. After all, mask wearing helps to protect everyone. It is important for the greater good. Wearing a mask makes you a hero! (See what I did there?)
So, let’s keep focusing upon the positive. Keep working hard to win people over to your way of thinking by focusing upon its positive aspects and benefits. Because when you treat all people with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness everyone wins!