Since the broadcast of BBC’s Blue Planet II knowledge about the amount of plastic waste in our oceans has soared. Now that awareness of the problem has been raised the next step is to change peoples’ behaviour. This is no mean task, particularly when you look at the statistics that show that of the 8 million tonnes of plastic in the oceans 80% comes from the land and 50% of this is single use plastic.
At a recent CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management) New Member Network session speakers were united in saying that everyone is part of the solution. Much work has already been achieved in turning the situation around at both business and consumer level. And while the focus here is on resource management the methods used can easily be used for other sectors.
If you wish to get your message across and want your customers to act upon it the following are worth a try:
5 ways to get people to act
1.Draw up a checklist
By creating a checklist you can record everything that needs attention. By breaking the list down into manageable chunks on specific topics you can identify which messages and actions to start with, perhaps those that can generate a good engagement with relative ease. Buoyed by your initial success and with momentum behind you, you can progress to more detailed actions which may take more time.
2. Create a groundswell of champions
If you are having trouble convincing decision makers of the need to change speak to as many people within your organisation and get them onside. Once management see the volume of people who are passionate about change they are more likely to listen and work with you to implement what needs to happen. Once you start talking about a particular issue you will be surprised how many people will keen to do their bit to help and support it.
3. Encourage interaction and engagement
Talk is good but actions speak louder so getting people involved in doing one thing can help build momentum. When the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) introduced its policy to remove all disposable drinking cups in staff areas, employees were encouraged to go online and post a picture with their reusable mug saying why their mug was important to them. The interaction brought an element of fun and got people bringing in their own mugs to use instead of disposable cups. What ways can you think of that could engage people in a competitive spirit?
4. Use graphics
Using images and graphics tends to work so much better in getting the message across. As they say a picture paints a thousand words and undertaken correctly can generate better results. Reading text is timely so using graphics with a simple tick or cross or a few words can quickly communicate what action needs to be taken.
5. Keep it simple
Clear and simple messages with realistic changes are far easier to understand than a mixture of numerous and complicated messages. All too often in life we are overwhelmed with projects or tasks that are multi-faceted. By breaking these down into smaller, actionable points you have a higher likelihood of success. In addition don’t try to focus too long a time to achieve something. Rather than focusing on what can be done in a month, concentrate on a single day or week. If every customer acted on one simple thing the difference would be great.