Hope is the belief that tomorrow can be better, if we make it so. Not only is hope a powerful force for progress, it is a smart strategy for social change. Hope is the key to connecting to people with positive emotions like joy, humour, compassion and empathy. It is the job of change-makers to give supporters hope, channeling their energy by showing them how they can make a better world.
Don't just tell people what you oppose, also tell them what you stand for. We need to be as good at celebrating the things we want to see in the world as we are at criticising the things we want to stop. Instead of operating through the prism of negative stereotypes and myths you want to tear down, build up new ideas of your own. If advertisers can sell anything, we can find creative new ways to promote tolerance, kindness and humanity.
People need to believe that there is an alternative to today’s present problems. Showing how change can happen in the future actually demands far more creativity and effort than documenting today’s problems which are already happening. We need to find the language that makes audiences, including decision-makers, see how our solutions will work, make them desirable, and make them a priority. If you successfully communicate how things should be, you not only make possible, you make it inevitable.
Instead of making people feel guilty or at risk, give them a chance to be part of something special. People want to know how change happens, and how they can be part of it. We need to listen to our audiences and cultivate empathy for them – even people we disagree with can change, if we engage with them. Reaching people on an emotional level will make them passionate about your cause.
Show the people in our stories as everyday heroes, celebrating their humanity so that people can relate to them as equals. We should ask people to stand in solidarity with others, rather than pitying them. The more our opponents try to divide, the more we need powerful stories that unite. The seeds of a better tomorrow are often all around us, but the stories are not being told. We need to strengthen this way of seeing the world every day.