Before we persuade, we need to first understand.
Imagine you are standing on a corner with a clipboard that clearly marks your purpose: voter registration. There’s an upcoming election and you want to make sure everyone has the chance to participate. A young man — let’s call him Oliver — heads in your direction. Seeing your clipboard, his face contorts into a grimace. You steel yourself.
“Good morning! Are you registered to vote?” you ask.
“I don’t vote,” Oliver shoots at you.
The moment freezes. You repeat Oliver’s statement in your head. I don’t vote. Immediately, your mind meets a torrent of frustration and outrage. In this moment, the two of you couldn’t be further apart: a non-voter and a volunteer helping people register to vote.