Seven reasons to talk to those you care about
1. Obviously, this concerns their welfare. You care about them.
2. Since they know you personally, your words carry some weight.
3. If they don’t listen at first, then your actions will speak louder than your words. Since you know them personally, they will either see you preparing, or you can occasionally bring it up in conversation when appropriate.
4. If the grid collapses, those family and friends who live nearby would come to you, asking for some of your food, water and other essentials. If you’ve convinced them to prepare themselves in advance, then they won’t be a burden to you.
5. For family and friends who are distant, there will be nothing that you can do if the grid collapses. To be able to say to yourself, “I did all I could,” you need to talk to them in advance.
6. You build up your safety net by alerting others who care about you. For example, if you run out of something before they do, they will be more likely to share, since in some sense they owe you for alerting them. You can also better support each other if your friends & family members are all up to speed on this issue.
7. Ultimately your security (and everyone’s) depends on a lot of people being prepared. Since you already have credibility with people who know you well, if you endorse GridEmergency’s approach, they will give the problem and solutions much more attention, especially if you talk about the urgency. So reaching out to those who respect and know you is the fastest way to pass on the vital information.
Now we turn to the question of how best to talk to others.
Your goals in telling others
Here are some goals to keep in mind:
Since it’s critical that this approach spreads fast, you will want to talk to others as soon as you feel comfortable with the approach, hopefully within a few days of learning about it.
You’ll want to communicate that this is an urgent problem…
…Yet, you don’t want to cause high-stress or anxiety. (So, emphasize the solution more than the problem!)
You don’t want to spend too much time with any one person. (So you’ll want to let the website and videos do most of the work of informing them about the problem and our solution.)
You will want to give people personal attention, and support as needed. That’s why we recommend reaching out to no more than seven people at a time.
You’ll eventually want to support people to support others (if they are willing.) Again, you don’t want to spend a lot of time. You’ll want to offer brief encouragements, and if they are stuck, help them get past obstacles.
Some things not to do
1) We don’t think that young children should be made aware that things could get out of control for a long time. Tell them you are preparing for smaller problems that. The preparation for an ice-storm or a tornado that shuts off power for a day or two is similar, so use smaller threats as the reason for getting prepared.
2) Similarly, you shouldn’t approach people who are already highly stressed by something else. You can always store supplies in their behalf, and tell them later.
3) Don’t talk to people until you are sure that you won’t come across as a pessimist or fearful person. It’s okay to show legitimate concern, but if you paint a doomsday-like scenario, you will likely turn off or overwhelm people.
4) Don’t talk to others until you are completely convinced that the threat is real. You should have at least looked at some of the official reports on the Information Sources page, so that what you say is not dismissed as “being from some random website on the Net.” Many people will be looking for ways to discount the validity of what you have to say. Some will do so because the consequences are too scary; others because they are busy; and others because they don’t want to exert the effort and invest the money into becoming prepared.
5) If you meet resistance or dismissal of what you’re saying, avoid getting into an argument. Later you can talk about what you’ve done and let your actions speak louder than words. This will make a stronger impression.
6) Unless you are very close friends with a neighbor, we generally don’t recommend telling neighbors. If a grid collapse happens before this approach spreads, there will probably be widespread desperation. Your neighbor will know or presume that you have prepared, and may demand or take what you have.
A suggested approach
You know the people you plan to contact, so adapt these suggestions as you see fit.
1. If you’re not too busy, it’s probably best to email them and ask them to call you when they have about 20 minutes. You could email them something like this, “Hello. I recently learned about a very disturbing problem, but also a very powerful solution to the problem. It has to do with the electric power grid. Can you call me when you have about 20 minutes in which you can give me your undivided attention?”
2. When the time comes to talk, ask how they are doing. Try to find out if they are preoccupied with something else. If they can’t focus, it’s not a good time to talk.
3.Ask if they know anything about the U.S. electric power grid vulnerability.
3a. If they know about the problem, ask what they think is the solution for themselves. Ask what they are doing. If they aren’t doing anything, explain that you think it’s urgent to protect themselves; and that there’s an excellent and powerful solution; and that you are participating in it; and that you want them to learn about it as soon as possible.
3b. If they have other plans, such as hunting or prepping, affirm what you can. But then ask questions that help them to see that their solution is inadequate. Almost all solutions fail to protect most people, and the country’s economic and political future. Once they acknowledge this, ask if they’d like to learn about a solution that can do so much more.
3c. If they don’t know about the problem at all, explain that there’s a huge problem that affects them and makes them vulnerable, but if they act in time they will be able to insure and protect themselves and those they care about. Then explain the problem in a sentence or two. Be brief. Then explain that the solution is in three parts: preparation, telling others, and advocacy to get government to protect those who can’t prepare.
4. Listen to their emotional response. Try to figure out their emotion and address that. For instance, are they anxious; or irritated; or overwhelmed; or still doubtful? Answer any questions and concerns that they have. Your attitude should be that this requires some immediate action from everyone, but that the situation can rapidly improve if everyone does their small part.
5. Ask them for a commitment to spend the time as soon as possible to learn about the problem and solution. Share the expectation that once they fully understand the situation, they will probably want to spread the word as soon as possible.
6. If they’re unwilling to commit, consider some kind of time-swap or deal. For instance, you would be willing to baby-sit, or grocery-shop, or do some task that would help them free up an hour. Your offer to give time will underscore how critical this issue is.
Dealing with some possible responses
1. No matter how people respond, you want to acknowledge their response, not argue with it. An empathic response is to reflect the core message of what they’re saying. For instance, if they throw up their hands and say, “Great, yet another huge unsolved problem!” you could say something like, “You’re feeling overwhelmed by yet another problem” or “You’re angry that someone has dropped the ball on this issue.” — But then you can affirm that they don’t need to feel badly about this if they take action. Then you can tell them what you are personally doing.
2. If the person you approach dismisses this as a low-probability event, you could compare it to the chances of someone’s home burning down because of a fire. It’s less than a 1% chance that this would happen to any of us, yet people buy fire insurance just in case. They don’t want to be totally vulnerable. But currently the country is vulnerable. But doing the actions recommended by GridEmergency is a way to create an insurance policy. The more people who join this and spread the word, the stronger the insurance policy becomes.
3. If they want to change the subject to their pet national fear (such as Ebola, an economic depression, bio-terrorism or something else) refuse to change the subject. Tell them, “Only one crisis at a time! Let’s stick with one that can have a quick solution!” Otherwise, you will be likely be pulled into a long conversation in which they increase their feelings of powerlessness.
4. If the person you approach says, “Not enough people will store supplies, so a panic will still happen,” you can reply, “Look, as this GridEmergency chain reaction continues, everyone is going to be right where you’re at now, and have to make the same calculation. At the beginning, no one is going to have any idea when food and water will be resupplied. Since no one has ever tried to resupply a nation of 300 million people at the same time, most people will realize that they had better become prepared themselves. And since everyone knows that desperate people would try to take things, your best insurance will be to tell others to prepare. But only the small number of people who know you will take you seriously. However, that can be enough — because each person has a small number of people who will take them seriously if they are in earnest, and if they back up their words with action.”
Follow-up, maintaining the expectation that they will participate
In two days, follow up with a call (an email would be too weak). Ask them what they think about the subject. Acknowledge their concerns or situation. Then talk about something positive, for instance:
1. How others are responding positively — either people you are contacting, or data from the website on our growth in numbers (once we get rolling.)
2. Talk about how you are feeling better, the more people you talk to and the more preparation you are doing. Name your feelings: optimism, relief, a sense of high self-esteem because you are showing concern for others by telling them, a sense of being empowered — whatever your feelings are.
3. Affirm that they will feel better as soon as they take action.
4. If it seems appropriate, ask them what the obstacle is to them taking action. Then help them problem-solve to overcome the obstacle.
Keep them in the loop, but know when to stop asking
Some people will just say no. Once they understand the situation and the risks, it seems best to respect their decision. Depending on your relationship and the situation you might want to ask again later. Or you could keep indirectly bringing things to their attention by periodically sending them a short article or video.
If some people don’t want to pass it on, know that you still have helped plant a seed. If and when someone else they know contacts them about this issue, it will have to make a stronger impact, because you already laid the foundation.
Next, return to the Introduction to Preparation section to do some more preparation.