3 Reasons Why PREACHING Won't Get People To LISTEN… And What To Do Instead

Do you have a belief so close to your heart that you feel the need to shove it in the face (and Facebook feeds) of everyone you know?

Even though your belief may be proven to be the “right”, “healthiest”,  or most “scientific” or “eco-friendly”, way to eat, travel, raise children, have a healthy body, form a spiritual belief or build a veggie garden… preaching about it all-the-time is not the way to get people to sit up and take notice.

Here’s 3 reasons why being preachy is unlikely to be well received and some ideas on what you can do instead.


1. Preaching attacks people’s values

When you come across with an “I’m right, you’re wrong” sort of attitude, you may think that you’re helping others by teaching them the error of their ways, but in fact most people who are being preached to feel disrespected and attacked.

And what do people do when they’re under attack? They defend themselves.

Yep. No matter how “right” you are or how much evidence you provide to support your cause, pretty much everyone’s initial response to anything that challenges their own values and beliefs is to get defensive. And trying to convince a defensive person to listen to your point of view is basically pointless.


2. There’s a lot of noise out there

There is so much conflicting advice out there about what is right, wrong, good, bad, best, worst that sometimes it’s easier just to tune out. And that’s what most of us do.

Also, if you’re a rebellious spirit like me then it’s likely that you resist against being told what you should be doing “just because”. People need time and space to make up their own mind about what is best for them so they might understand your point of view but take a few months or even years to come around to it.

Let go of your expectations and “need” for people to get on board with you now and give them the freedom to make a decision in their own time (if at all).


3. Actions speak louder than words

If you’re always telling someone that they should change their choices then the effect of those words are going to start to wear off after a while. Instead of trying to explain your reasonings or explain why you are right, instead show people why you’re choices work for you (without trying to force your opinion onto them).

For example, if you are against eating meat, telling people stories of animal cruelty or negative health effects are unlikely to have any impact (see the first point in this post). Instead try inviting them over for a great vego dinner or show them how much weight you’ve lost since changing your diet.

When you allow people the freedom to be themselves without judging them, they’ll feel comfortable with you and in turn, they’ll be more likely to request more information about your passions when the time feels right for them.


The antidote to preaching?

Drop your expectations, needs and agendas.

Yes, you may be “right” and you may want everyone around you to experience the same joy that you do but just remember that it is not your duty to change anyone else. I’m brought back to my old mantra:

The only person I have any control over is ME.

Dive deep into the pleasure that you feel in regards to the choices you make and SHARE THAT. Come from that place of  happiness, health or enlightenment and express gratitude for what you have without trying to invite others to join your “team”.

I assure you, when you become the best possible version of yourself, people will be lining up to listen to your secrets!


What are you most often ‘preached to’ about?

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15 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why Preaching Won’t Get People To Listen

  1. Thanks for commenting Jani! I went through a phase of feeling as though it was my duty to teach and inform others of how ‘wrong’ they were but I’ve since learnt that peace really pays off! All the best with it. xx

    Posted on 9 April, 2014 at 10:48 pm
  2. Thank you for this great post Naomi. It´s a great reminder and I love the suggestions of what to do instead. Love!

    Posted on 20 May, 2014 at 3:28 am
  3. No expectations, no judging…I LOVE IT. Yes! Show up, show the way, and let others decide for themselves. All we can do is live by example. 🙂

    Posted on 21 May, 2014 at 3:49 am
  4. I’ve always said, “you can’t feed someone unless they are hungry.” They gotta be hungry and looking for food. Whatever that “food” may be that you’re trying to shove down their throat! LOL! Great other thoughts, as always! Thanks for your great posts! xo

    Posted on 21 May, 2014 at 2:08 pm
  5. Always enjoy your posts Naomi. I agree, I find I tune-out if someone is on their soapbox and all about them vs coming from curious and creating engagement.

    Posted on 22 May, 2014 at 4:21 am
  6. Thanks Tammy, me too!

    Posted on 22 May, 2014 at 4:38 am
  7. Thanks Alix, I totally agree! I have found when I stop preaching, people become “hungry”. Very interesting.

    Posted on 22 May, 2014 at 4:39 am
  8. Totally! x

    Posted on 22 May, 2014 at 4:40 am
  9. Thanks Jessica! x

    Posted on 22 May, 2014 at 4:41 am
  10. Amen! Seems these days I can’t express much without an unsolicited opinion string that follows 🙂

    Posted on 22 May, 2014 at 4:47 am
  11. This actually gives us a lot of permission to just let our guards down and speak from a place of joy, sharing and inspiration rather than trying to be like a colonist! I can get preachy sometimes but I notice I often do it when I don’t believe people will listen to me. Then when I catch myself, I back off, and notice that people have a chance to either stay or come closer – the closer ones are my Soulmate Clients or tight posse and that’s way more fun a crowd to connect with!

    Posted on 22 May, 2014 at 5:38 am
  12. I love your story Amanda! If we give people the chance to come closer – often they will! x

    Posted on 22 May, 2014 at 7:48 am
  13. This is a great article, thanks for writing. Points well taken. Note: I sort a preached by sharing this on Facebook. 🙂

    Posted on 30 July, 2015 at 5:05 pm
  14. Thanks for reading and sharing Joseph!

    Posted on 31 July, 2015 at 11:16 am