Words have the power to inspire, but they can also backfire. My name’s Parker Terrell and I’m here to clear away the cloud of confusion with the Plain Truth.
I want to start off today talking about a recent comm I received from a passionate individual. A firm believer in the truth, he was looking to enlighten his friends as to what is really going on in this Empire. Unfortunately, he found himself having problems convincing them. He relates in the comm how their stubbornness leads to him sometimes getting overly passionate, i.e. screaming his head off. He wanted my advice on how he could go about converting his friends and not lose all of them in the process.
I tried to explain to him that the way we deliver our message is as important as the message we deliver. History has proven that words determine how wars are waged and won. We can’t just win the war of ideas; we must also win the war of words.
Turns out, he just started arguing with me, so it seemed like a good idea to address this issue with the rest of you.
With that in mind, I contacted Clair Rios and asked if she could come on and help explain that subtle distinction. Clair is a Nyx resident, and proud owner of Café Musain in Levski, so she knows a few things about conversing with a wide range of people. She was kind enough to take a little time out of her supply run to swing by the show and chat.
As a lifelong resident of Levski, Clair believes in many things that I don’t care for or that I even find foolish, like the complete overthrow of the UEE government. Yet I’m always willing to hear her out and sometimes even find myself slightly persuaded by her arguments. That’s why I asked her here today to teach how to best argue your beliefs without driving the opposing party away. Thanks for doing this, Clair.
Clair Rios: Parker, my boy, you’ve already gotten this off on the wrong foot. You keep describing the conversation as adversarial. Any discussion that begins with a “me versus them” mentality is already a lost cause. If you consider the conversation a battle to be won or lost, then you will be driven to make your point any way you can. That, my boy, is what makes a man a bully.
But if the goal of the conversation isn’t to convince them you’re right, then what’s the end goal?
Clair Rios: To get them to think about and consider your points long after the conversation is over. Let me tell you a little story. Now there was this young drifter that used to come in my bar. A little rough around the edges but nothing out of sorts for those parts. He’d always order a glass of Rust and grab a booth in back. Never bothered to ask my name or even say “Hi.”
Bet that rubbed you the wrong way.
Clair Rios: Damn right. I’m all about respecting my customer’s privacy, but I still believe in common courtesy. So this one time he comes in and I have a bottle waiting. I tell him the bottle’s all his if he has one drink with me. So he sits down and we drink. Not as barkeep and patron, or drifter and Nyx resident, just as people.
Turns out the boy had a rough and tumble upbringing and lost all faith in anyone and anything but himself. Claimed he had to live life the way he did to survive, and couldn’t stand the idealistic “empower the people” message of Levski. That’s why he always avoided talking to me.
I’ll be straight with you, Clair. The tenets of Levski have always sounded to me like a ‘head in the sand’ approach to fixing problems. Sealing yourself away from the universe is no way to change it.
Clair Rios: Dammit, Parker, stop trying to bait me. I’m not here to talk politics; I’m here to teach your audience about polite conversation. And, for the record, no … I didn’t even bring up the dream of Levski in my first conversation with the boy. Just created a comfortable atmosphere for him to express his ideas and, eventually, hear a few of my own. See, there was no way he would listen to me preach, and I don’t blame him. I can rattle on with the best of them, but I always said you’d never see me on my soap box ’cause I’d just fall off.
Instead, I told him about the freedom I felt in Levski, being a part of a caring community without being burdened by the imperial yoke. He already understood self-reliance. All he needed to see was the benefits of a community. That’s how you reach those who see things differently. Not by painting a picture of what’s wrong but by showing them how your way makes things right.
Clair, that’s some great advice, but it’s also pretty specific to your situation. My audience can’t use cheap booze and promises of an idyllic, government-less ’verse to convince people of the plain truth.
Clair Rios: Well, Parker, that says more about your message than anything else. You see your show as exposing the injustices of the UEE, but what it should really be about is equality. Pointing out a problem is only part of the job; if you explain how solving it helps people, your audience has the inspirational message it’s missing.
Clair, you’ve given me and my audience a lot to think about. Before we go to break, one more question: what happened to that rough and tumble kid?
Clair Rios: That boy hasn’t left Levski these past twenty years. Even became one of the more active members of our little community. Proves just how far some subtle inspiration can go.
Why am I not surprised. Thanks to Clair Rios for sharing some of her barstool wisdom. Stay here to see if I can apply any of it to the second half of the show when I’ll speak with Haider Holms about some unusual shipments in the Oya System.
This is Plain Truth.
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