No one, in the history of the universe, has ever been moved to change a behavior or reevaluate a long-held belief based on facts or statistics alone. And yet, many of our sexual violence and harassment prevention-related training programs incorporate facts and statistics as the primary educational engine—and when these programs fail, we think that perhaps we should just find more horrifying facts and statistics. These “shock and awe” strategies aren’t successful because the information we’re sharing is not value-neutral: it’s debated, politicized, and in many cases, implicates our own actions and beliefs. Our emotional response shuts down our ability to learn and change. Humor, when used strategically, has been found to reduce defensiveness, and increase the likelihood that challenging content will reach the listener. This plenary will integrate cross-disciplinary academic research and lessons learned over thirty years of content development and program delivery.
As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:
- Recognize how emotions impact the way people think about their own behavior and issues related to sexual violence and harassment.
- Understand why strictly legal and compliance-based messaging fails to engage people in attitudinal and behavioral change.
- Identify appropriate ways of using humor to frame key issues, reduce cognitive and emotional defensiveness, and enable educators to foster genuine connection with audiences.