At Compassionate Action for Animals, we strive to encourage others to cultivate empathy for animals and move towards a plant-based diet. To support this mission, the quality of our communication is vital. We aim to be confident, positive, and welcoming in our interactions with all people. When each of us embraces the intention to be friendly, we are able to connect to a larger community and be a more powerful voice for the animals.
As a Volunteer
When you volunteer for CAA, you are serving as the face of the organization, representing its mission of reaching others with a message of respect and compassion for all life. With this in mind, at events, make a practice of acknowledging everyone: familiar faces, newcomers, and fellow volunteers. In this way, you are doing your best to make everyone, especially those who are new to the community, feel comfortable and included.
As a Host
If you are hosting an event, begin with a warm greeting to all participants. Welcome everyone into the space in a relaxed but confident manner. Feel free to smile! With a pleasant facial expression, make eye contact whenever possible. This kind of body language supports your welcoming words and sends the message that you are available for questions and conversation.
Proactively engage others in conversation. Speak clearly, but also take time to listen. Again, be aware that your body language gives the impression that you are open and present. Uncross your arms and legs, and don’t fidget with pamphlets, mobile phones, or other distractions. In general, keep mobile phones turned off and stored away during events.
When speaking with new people, show a genuine interest in them. Ask simple questions and keep the conversation positive. Ask them what are their favorite hobbies, what brings them to the event, or something playful like which superhuman power they dream of having. Avoid asking if they are vegetarian or vegan, as this may create a feeling of judgement or self-consciousness. Rather, direct the conversation to common interests and create a sense of connection.
Growing into a Friendly Advocate
Some of us are naturally friendly, and some of us need to work at it. If you are one of those people who would like to become more friendly, trust that it’s possible to grow in this way. It may just require practice and following a few good examples. Surround yourself with friendly people, observe how they behave, and you’re likely to make some new habits that will allow you to welcome others just as you would like to be welcomed.