57: Convincing Someone to Be Prepared for Emergencies

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How many of you know people who are totally opposed to preparedness? Are you frustrated with trying to convince them to be prepared for emergencies? Do you know people, maybe family and friends, the minute you speak about preparedness, shut you down and don’t want to hear about it? If you’re like most preppers, you have your hand up, nodding that you’ve run into that exact or a very similar situation.

Lots of Preppers Want to Know How to Convince Others to Be Prepared for Emergencies

With that… oh wait, I’m sorry, go ahead and put your hands down. Now, with that, I want to give you some tools that should give you some techniques and strategies to help you get your non-preparedness-minded family and friends on board.

Now, these tools and strategies are not rocket science, nor are they difficult to use. They take a little practice, a tweak to your mindset, and you’ll be all set. These tools are not new. Instead, they’re tried, tested, and proven to work and will be excellent additions to your Mind4Survial.

One of the most common complaints I hear from fellow preppers is that their family and friends won’t get on board with preparedness. So, all too often, many of us are stuck preparing on our own. Some of you not only have to prepare on your own, but you must do so in secret.

While I’ve never experienced that, I can sympathize with how difficult it must be having to hide such an essential aspect of your life. Heck, even if you don’t have to prepare in secret, preparing by yourself when your friends and loved ones don’t see the point or poke at you, stinks.

So, because this is such a big issue with preppers, I decided to dedicate this episode to arming you with some strategies and techniques to help make your prepper life a little easier. I think you’ll find it interesting, and if you follow some of the steps here, you may see that you are no longer an army of one.

We’re going to cover a number of ideas on how to convince someone to be prepared for emergencies. The main topics we’re going to go over to make that happen are:

  • five reasons people don’t prepare
  • how to win friends and influence people
  • some of the do’s and don’ts of convincing people to be prepared for emergencies

Let’s get started.

How to Convince Someone to be Prepared for Emergencies

Alright, so we’ve all heard about or have experienced it when people, mainly family and friends, don’t want anything to do with preparing, and they shut us down whenever we bring it up.

Well, why do they shut you down? Sometimes we need to look at things from the other person’s point of view. When we do, we may find ways to gain inroads to helping them understand why preparedness is so important.

When it comes to figuring out how to get other people to be prepared for emergencies, we often find ourselves frustrated, irritated, and unable to get people to understand how important preparedness is. Well, when it comes to convincing others to prepare, we need to follow a few things.

The Importance of Communication

First, we need to understand that we can’t talk over, preach, or try to browbeat people into preparedness just because we know it’s essential. They need to come to the idea through their thought processes, and that’s what you can help with.

Next, we need to know the reasons, or in this case, the excuses people use as a reason why they don’t prepare. Once we understand why a person doesn’t want to prepare, we can then begin forming a strategy for getting them across the preparedness finish line.

Lastly, we need to understand how to interact with people to encourage them to want to become prepared. We need to use a mindset that incorporates techniques that make the person you are trying to convince to prepare into a like-minded ally, rather than an anti-prepper who is in line to become the next disaster victim we hear about on the six o’clock news.

As mentioned, before we can convince people to be prepared, we must first know the reasons they are going to use to support why they aren’t or don’t need to be ready. So, to cover that, I’m going to go over the five reasons people don’t prepare.

Five Reasons People Don’t Prepare

There are several reasons that people don’t want to prepare. Let’s look at five reasons people don’t prepare, and if you have any others, please go to Mind4Survival.com/57 and tell us about it in the comments section.

#1 Normalcy Bias

One of the reasons we often hear why people don’t prepare is the old “What are the chances it’ll happen to me?” line. As many of you know from hearing me speak about it before, this objection is based upon “Normalcy Bias.” For those who may not remember, normalcy bias is a belief people have that causes them to underestimate or completely deny the chances that a disaster will impact them.

Also, sometimes, when people admit a disaster may affect them, their normalcy bias kicks in, so they underestimate the effects a disaster will have on them. In other words, these people are living in denial. If they don’t believe it can happen, you will never convince them to be prepared for emergencies.

#2 Fear

 Another reason people don’t want to hear us talk about preparedness is fear. Often the thoughts of something wrong so overwhelms people that it paralyzes them and their ability to even think about the possibility of a disaster or other stressful event happening to them. We often talk about these people as having their heads stuck in the sand. The unfortunate fact is that many people let the fear of a possible event overwhelm any ability to prepare for the event.

Also, some people have a fear of being labeled as a crazy prepper. Unfortunately, many people out there are more worried about others’ perceptions of them than they are about their preparedness. With that, many prepare without letting anyone know they do so. Like some of you, that used to be my case. Then, when I decided to start doing this podcast, I came out of the prepper bunker, and now I have no problem if people know that I’m a prepper.

Heck, telling people I’m a prepper is an excellent way of sorting out the people who don’t like preppers or consider us crazy from those that don’t. In the end, it saves me a lot of time when dealing with people, as I tend to like to deal with well-natured preppers, as opposed to judgmental non-preppers.

#3 The Government Will Help

Next, some people think they don’t need to prepare because they believe the government will take care of them should a disaster happen. Yes, even though during Hurricane Katrina, everyone saw the results of relying upon a government response. For these people, it’s probably the path of least resistance that keeps them on their current track.

After all, why spend the money, effort, and time to do something that the others and the government will do on their time and dime? Heck, they may even tell you that they’re just frugal. Of course, they are, right? Often, these are the people who will turn to the more prepared people of society looking for a helping hand when things go wrong.

And furthermore, the government tends to deny all the bad things that happen after a disaster, promoting a narrative that everything is just fine, nobody goes hungry, nobody loots, and nobody panics.

#4 No Money

 Other people use a lack of funds as the excuse why they can’t afford to prepare. To the unknowing, this may seem like a legitimate excuse. After all, when feeding and clothing your family is a struggle today, how easy is it to not think about spending money to prepare for something that may not happen in the future.

These people haven’t taken the time or a realistic approach to preparing on a budget. If you’d like to hear more about preparing on a budget, make sure you listen to my podcast episode with Jane Austin. The fact is, preparing on a budget is 100% possible. It just takes some know-how and ingenuity. Another great reference is this article on prepping using things you already have.

#5 I’m Too Busy

The last common reason people use not to prepare is the old “I’m too busy thinking about today, to worry about tomorrow.” In other words, I have too much going on to even think about being prepared. As preppers, we all know that this is an entirely incorrect statement or excuse depending upon how you want to look at it.

The fact is while prepping does take time, it is manageable. What preparedness takes is a commitment, planning, and dedication to ourselves and our preparedness. All someone needs to do is set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day for their preparedness, and over time, they will become much better prepared than people who don’t prepare. Here’s an article that can help you make the most of your time with a routine that works for you.

Winning Friends and Influencing People

If you’d like to improve your ability to speak with people positively, I highly suggest reading or listening to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It’s a great book that was first published in 1936 and has sold over 30 million copies. It’s also voted as one of the 100 most influential books of all time.

Dale Carnegie’s method uses a variety of strategies to get buy-in from people who may be opposed to what we are trying to achieve. In this case, we want to get them to be prepared for emergencies.

#1 Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. 

People do not like to be wrong or admit fault. When we criticize or humiliate people, they usually become defensive and resentful of the person criticizing them. So, if you want buy-in, don’t criticize, condemn, or complain about them.

#2 Give honest and heartfelt appreciation.

People rarely work to the potential as a result of criticism. Instead, people respond well to appreciation. Appreciation is a very powerful tool. However, appreciation must be honest as opposed to merely flattering a person to get them to do what you want.

#3 Stimulate an enthusiastic desire in the other person.

In other words, rather than justifying the reason to do something from our point of view, look at it from the perspective of the person you’re speaking with. By combing your goals with another person’s wants, they become more likely to help us work towards achieving our goal. For example, if you want them to become better prepared, perhaps you ask them to take a first aid course with you so that you don’t have to partner up with someone you don’t know.

#4 Don’t argue with people.

How many times have you argued with someone where both sides weren’t at least a little upset afterward? Arguing never works out well when trying to convince someone to do something. Arguing usually results in someone feeling irritated, humiliated, or any one of a number of unwanted feelings. So, avoid arguing whenever possible, because it won’t get you anywhere.

#5 Respect other people’s opinions.

As with arguing, people don’t like being told they’re wrong. So, avoid telling people they’re wrong. If they’re wrong, let them be wrong. After all, if you know what you’re talking about, over time, you should be able to coach them into discovering the error of their ways, rather than telling them directly and ticking them off.

#6 Start the conversation in a friendly manner.

When we start a discussion in a warm, good-natured way, people are more likely to accept what we’re saying. Think about it. How would you respond to someone who started a conversation by yelling at you?

#7 Begin the conversation with questions the other person will answer yes to.

When you begin a conversation by discussing points that you and another person differ on, you start the conversation out negatively. Instead, start the discussion by talking about things you both agree on. Once a person begins agreeing with you, they are more likely to continue doing so, or at least genuinely considering what you are saying. Thus, lead them down the preparedness path with questions they will answer yes to.

#8 Listen more and talk less.

People enjoy hearing themselves talk. So, let them speak, and rather than telling them your views, ask questions that continue the conversation in the direction you’d like it to go. Remember, you want them to work towards the goal voluntarily. Don’t try to convince them of your cause by talking them to death.

#9 Make the idea theirs.

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like something when the idea is theirs. If you have an idea that you would like carried out, let the other person think the idea is theirs, and they’ll be more likely to make it happen. Heck, they may even try to convince you of the greatness of their concept. This is a time when you can use the trash can theory of management.

The trash can theory of management is when you want to implement an idea, but need buy-in from others. So, what you do is to come up with a few different ways of accomplishing your objective. You then go to the person, or persons, whose input you need and let them know you need help in reaching your goal. When they ask what help you need, you respond by telling them what you’re trying to accomplish. Then follow it up with the possible options that you like, usually no more than three, to keep it simple.

Then, the person you are trying to get buy-in from can decide by picking one of the options you like. In the end, you reach your goal. The person whose buy-in you needed feels like they are the critical decision-maker. As a former corporate executive, trust me, this is a great way to get done what you need, in the way you need it done.

#10 Consider the other person’s point of view.

This cannot be overstated. Far too often, we’re concerned with getting the results we want because the matter is important to us. However, we usually get so passionate about what we’re trying to achieve that we forget to think about how the other person views the situation. It’s always best to think about a needed decision point through the ideas of the other person. When you do, you’ll be better able to understand their position, objections, and other constraints. This understanding will then aid you in shaping your strategy and realizing your goal.

#11 Admit your mistakes.

If you find that you made a mistake, or are wrong about something, quickly admit it. What you’ll notice is that when you fight with someone, they’ll often dig their heels in. When you admit you’re wrong, people usually trust you more. They are more inclined to accept your perspective on things.

#12 Be sympathetic towards the other person’s point of view.

People want to have their thoughts and feelings acknowledged and accepted. By honestly trying to understand other people, we set the stage to make them want to understand and accept our way of thinking.

#13 Appeal to a person’s honor.

Almost all of us like to think we’re doing something that is honorable and good. If you can show someone how what they are doing is noble and for a reason greater than themselves, they are more likely to follow you. For example, when it comes to preparing, perhaps they would like to know that by storing extra food, they’ll have the ability to help others during a disaster.

#14 Be descriptive when speaking about your goal.

In today’s world of sound bites and Internet posts, people tend to look for intense, vibrant, and thought-provoking things. So, give them that. Just don’t state what you are working towards. Describe it. Let their minds feel, see, smell, touch, etc., what it is you want them to do.

#15 Challenge them.

The desire to compete is an integral part of human nature. Competition motivates people because everyone wants to prove they are good and capable at something. Therefore, give people something to compete over. Find a way to make a competition out of different preparedness tasks. When you do, you may find the unprepared becoming prepared much faster than you would think possible.

Dos and Don’ts of Convincing Someone to be Prepared for Emergencies

 Now that we’ve talked about the five excuses people use against preparing and 15 strategies to convince people to prepare, I want to discuss a couple of the do’s and don’ts for convincing others to be prepared for emergencies.

The Do’s

#1 Coaching
Now, when you get your friends and family to open up and begin speaking about preparedness, it’s critical that you don’t overwhelm them. You should help them come up with their answers and follow the direction they want to take their prepping in. It’s best to approach this method from the mindset of a coach.

Have you ever spoken with a good coach? Not a sports coach, but rather a business, life, or motivational coach? They don’t operate by telling you what to do. Instead, they ask you questions. The questions they ask focus on the feelings, desires, frustrations, mental roadblocks, etc., of the person they are coaching. They dial in on what makes a person tick. Then they help the person to the objective they are hoping to achieve.

The coaching process, when done right, is a very positive experience. It helps a person discover the answers they need on their own. Then the solution becomes more meaningful and permanent.

If you’d like to know more about coaching, a good book to read is “The Coaching Habit” Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever,” by Michael Bungay Stainer.”

#2 Honey and Vinegar

Benjamin Franklin may have said it best when he stated, “Tart words make no friends; a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.”

Franklin meant we’re more likely to get someone to understand and possibly agree when they have a positive experience. This doesn’t mean a positively irritating experience. It means we speak with people in a calm, courteous manner, as opposed to an upset, act-now-or-die way. Then they are more likely to follow our train of thought and act in a way we hope they do.

The Don’ts

#1 Don’t be Chicken Little
One thing coaches don’t do, at least good and effective coaches don’t do, is to tell people what to do. That’s not to say they can’t be forceful in helping a person sort out their head. However, they typically don’t tell you to take a specific action. They tend to offer you advice to help unlock the difficulties a person is having.

With that, just like what you should avoid, they don’t try to scare or overwhelm the person they are coaching. In other words, don’t act like Chicken Little by telling people they HAVE to prepare. Don’t call them or others who don’t prepare stupid, sheep, victims, etc. When you use that approach, you’re more likely to drive people away from preparedness forever. Remember, you are helping to nudge them in prepping’s direction.

#2 Don’t be a Pitbull. Don’t be stubborn, dig your heels in, and become intense when someone doesn’t see your point of view. We all have moments where we don’t accept other people’s ideas, even when those ideas may be in our best interest.

We’ve seen or heard of people who go crazy when trying to convince other people to be prepared. Calling people names, berating them, or merely harassing them on an ongoing basis is NOT the way to get someone to come into the preparedness fold. It is quite the opposite. The attitude you use is vital. Speak with them in a manner that does not cause them to withdraw, feel overwhelmed, or disengage from us.

The Bottom Line on Convincing Others to Be Prepared for Emergencies

Convincing other people to be prepared for emergencies has a lot to do with how you approach them. A positive approach will get you much further than a negative one. You will always find people are more willing to listen when you are speaking to them with respect.

Have you managed to convince any of your loved ones to be prepared for emergencies? How did you persuade them? Let’s talk about it in the comments.


Stay safe, 


  1. TG on June 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Hi Brian, when I try to play the last few podcasts, they all seem to be the one on top 10 bugout bag items? Other than that, really enjoy your show and appreciate all the information you provide!

  2. Geza Papp on November 7, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    I found one more reason why not to prepare. Two of my friends had the opinion that if things get really bad they just wouldn’t want to live. Of course they would change their mind but only after it was too late. I respect their thinking but it is very sad. I am still looking for a way to change their mind.

    • Brian Duff on December 17, 2018 at 11:29 pm

      Geza, Your feeling is 100% correct, it is sad. Keep us posted on how working to change their mind goes.

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