A crucial challenge for those interested in progressive social change, is how to capture and sustain public attention. High level concepts such as ‘inequality’, ‘austerity’ or ‘climate change’ can seem disconnected from people’s everyday lives, or come across as overly abstract, as well as resoundingly negative. Yet communicating the impact of these concepts in engaging ways which reach beyond the already converted, are crucial in promoting policies or measures to combat such damaging social and political trends.
Drawing on psychological research, Psychologists Against Austerity have put together a briefing note on improving public discussion about inequality.
Some key points from the briefing note are:
- Adapt your message to the audience’s interests or values
- Avoid vague terms like ‘poverty’, and talk about specific issues
- Think about how you ‘frame’ the issue when painting the picture
- Provide evidence of change when exploring different views
- Think about how changes would maintain or improve the public’s quality of life
- Use social norms to demonstrate support for social change