I consider myself to be somewhat of a ‘conspiracy expert’ these days, and as a professional communicator who makes a living from the fact that people take my thoughts seriously, I have realized that there is an ‘art’ to being a conspiracy theorist in today’s social/political climate. Long gone are the days where conspiracies are silly superstitions that require you to wear tinfoil hats and look like an idiot. There are dozens of major proven conspiracies being brought to light every year around the world, and if the recent political climate has shown us anything, it is that collusion and conspiracy are the ‘bread and butter’ of Washington, Hollywood, and the Global Elite.
Despite almost weekly evidence of the truth of conspiracies being perpetrated all around us, many people are still reluctant to openly embrace the fact that public conspiracies are real and that they have actually affected our lives in very real ways.
The reason for this is simple: people are afraid.
- Afraid to be wrong.
- Afraid to be ridiculed.
- Afraid to know the brutal truth.
- Afraid of being targeted by those running the conspiracies.
- Afraid of being one of ‘those people’.
If you are one of those who finds yourself afraid of diving into the endless abyss of ‘conspiracy land’, that’s okay. Chances are, if you truly were opposed to being one of ‘those people’, you wouldn’t have even started reading this article. Thus, if you are still reading this, I’m going to guess that there is part of you that recognizes the value of understanding the hidden agendas and truths behind much of the lies the controlling powers give us, but you’re not really sure HOW to investigate things and still keep your head above the waves of ‘crazy land’. If this is you, take heart; there are actually some people with level heads on their shoulders in ‘conspiracy land’, and none of them are wearing tinfoil hats.
On the other side of the equation, you may be someone who absolutely loves conspiracies. If this is you, I REALLY hope that you read the rest of this article because the world needs you to do this the right way. I have met so many well-meaning conspiracy theorists that are spot on with their information but remain truly UN-believable in their presentation. What good does it do any of your friends and family for you to be seen as a social pariah every time you open your mouth? You want to help them see the truth, and all they want to do is escape the conversation. How’s that working out for ya? How many ‘non-believers’ have you actually convinced? How many ‘sleepers’ have you actually woke?
For my part, I am surrounded by people who know I am a conspiracy theorist, but they also know I’m not just an idiot who spouts the latest thing I heard from Alex Jones or David Wilcock just because they said it. Not that I think those guys are complete idiots, just that I don’t ever adopt conspiracy theories that I haven’t truly investigated on my own, and that’s just it… The people around me know that I have some ‘rules’ that I follow in my conspiracy travels, and that those rules keep me somewhat tolerable to be around whenever a conspiracy subject arises. As such, over time I’ve been able to ‘convert’ quite a few people over to a more skeptical way of critical thinking about a great many subjects, which I believe should be the real goal of any conspiracy theorist anyway.
What are those rules?
Rule #1: Get Comfortable In Your Own Skin
One of the main reasons that people don’t want to listen to conspiracy theories is because they are so often presented with
At some point, you either believe it, and you’re proud of that belief, or your not really sure yet, and you’re embarrassed to have the opinions you do. If you’re still a bit embarrassed to share what you think, perhaps these other 5 rules will help you become more confident in your presentation.
Another side to this first rule is understanding that you will likely be mocked by a majority of people you try to share your beliefs with. After converting dozens of people over the years to different conspiracy ideas that I hold, just about every one of them still laughs at me when a new conspiracy subject comes up. Thus, being comfortable in your own skin also means having a ‘thick skin’ in some ways. I’m not talking about becoming a callous jerk. I’m simply acknowledging that conspiracy theorists are laughed at… A LOT… and if you’re not comfortable in who you are, you may want to just keep it to yourself.
Rule #2: Know Your Shit
Oh, did you hear that one about the guy who heard on the radio that another guy saw a flying saucer on the internet talking to Trump? Oh… you didn’t? Well, now you have. And according to many conspiracy theorists out there, you apparently also have ALL OF THE INFORMATION!!! Better go tell your friends now that you have it on good authority that Trump is a lizard person who talks to the internet. I’m sure they’ll take you seriously now.
HOPEFULLY you got the extreme sarcasm in that last paragraph. If you missed it… Please return to the top of this article and read it again!
A good rule-of-thumb to follow in conspiracy land is: the more unbelievable a conspiracy is, the more you need to KNOW about it before anyone is going to take you seriously. And when I say “know about it”, I don’t mean that you’ve watched 100 YouTube videos from the same guy who makes a living off of perpetuating the theory in question. No, I mean study it from all angles. Research as much as you can for yourself. Listen to detractors. Find other, reputable people who believe the same thing and see what they’ve found out. In essence… Know Your Shit!
I can promise you one thing… Even if people don’t believe whatever theory you’re presenting to them, if you fully know what you’re talking about inside and out, they will at least still respect you at the end of the conversation. Unless they have a deep emotional attachment to you being wrong (i.e. they lost a loved one in the attacks of 9/11 and you’re a 9/11 truther), most people will still listen to you if you at least sound like you know what you’re talking about. So, whatever you do, don’t just start spouting out theories that you heard on the radio and expect someone to agree with you because you said it. Do your homework and watch your doubters become more interested than they’ve ever been before.
Rule #3: Don’t Become Religious About It
This may be my biggest pet peeve in the conspiracy community. In many ways, everyone believes a conspiracy about SOMETHING. And it is those base-level conspiracies that I find people to be somewhat religious about. I mean, everyone knows Trump colluded with Russia, right? Just because there hasn’t been nearly enough evidence to honestly suggest it and there is substantial evidence that shows the deep state has been conspiring to destroy his presidency from the inside, doesn’t mean he’s innocent. He’s guilty about SOMETHING… I just KNOW IT! … Don’t ask me to prove it. I just know the filthy orange man is bad!
It doesn’t really matter what conspiracy you love the most, it can be so incredibly easy to become religious about ANY IDEA, especially political ideas. But that’s just it… The point of this article is to help you become someone who is taken seriously. Thus, even if you are 1,000,000% CONVINCED in the truth of something, people can sense religious zealotry from a mile away. Nobody wants to be treated like a religious target… EVER.
If you want people to take you seriously, you have to be willing to listen. Lay down your zeal for a moment and chill. Stop trying to convert them in one conversation. Better yet… stop trying to ‘convert’ them at all. The moment you switch your energy to being that of a friend who has some ‘interesting ideas’ about things, the more you will find people stop dodging the conversations you’re so desperate to have. It’s basic sales technique. If you have a desperate energy, you will push people away. If you have a chill energy, people will be attracted to what you have to say.
Rule #4: Avoid Generalizations / Be Specific
In many ways, this rule is encompassed by Rule #2, but I wanted to highlight it individually for one reason…
We are bombarded by information 24/7 these days. Between the news, social media, entertainment, things are friends have learned, schooling, personal growth, training at work, family drama, and trying to schedule time for ourselves; we’ve trained our minds to filter out massive amounts of data, and the first batch of data that our minds filter out are ideas that are too big to understand easily. Thus, if you speak in generalizations, our minds don’t actually have anything specific to grab onto.
Let’s say you’re someone who really believes that the attacks on 9/11 were perpetrated by our government, how do you think these two openers might be received?
Opener #1: “You know 9/11 was fake, right?”
Opener #2: “Did you hear about how trade tower #7 was only hit by one piece of debris on the day of the attacks and then it crumbled to the ground 3 days later for no apparent reason?”
Which one of these conversation starters do you think is more likely to be ignored?
Obviously, I’m not guaranteeing that someone is going to immediately jump into a conversation with you right then and there. But if it’s something they’ve never heard before, there is a really good chance they’re going to AT LEAST walk away thinking about it, if not start asking you questions immediately or over time.
So, be specific with your sharing. Stay away from vague generalities as often as you can, and you’ll get a lot more questions about that ONE thing than you will ever get about this huge thing over here that no one has time to think about right now.
Rule #5: Pick Your Target and Your Timing
I feel like this rule should go without saying, but the religious zealotry of many conspiracy theorists tends to override common sense sometimes. Suffice to say, there is a time a place for everything, and proselytizing a parent about the dangers of vaccines after their kid has been diagnosed with autism is probably NOT the right time. If you wanna convince your cousin that they should check out Qanon, don’t do it at the Thanksgiving table while your liberal sister is sitting next to you.
Knowing your audience is a major tool in any communicator’s arsenal, and make no mistake about it, if you’re wanting to be taken seriously as someone who believes in ANY conspiracy, you are absolutely a ‘communicator’.
Beyond the timing of your delivery, you need to also consider the size of the mental ‘gap’ that your audience is going to have to cross to get from where they are to where you’re at. Trying to convince someone wearing a MAGA hat that Trump is guilty of collusion is probably not the best place to start a discussion. Maybe, instead of going straight for the biggest issue in your mind, start with something a little bit more approachable for your MAGA friend that will start them down the path of reconsidering their MAGA ways. Why not ask them if Trump has ever done anything that they disproved of (i.e. his comments on gun control)? Get them started in your direction in the smallest ways and start to build a report before you try to convince them of your conspiracy ‘fact’ that you know they need to hear so badly.
Rule #6: Be Ready to Answer Why
One of the biggest hurdles you will have to overcome with just about any skeptic is their inability to see WHY someone would
It is a lot easier to believe that ‘terrorists’ brought down the trade towers on 9/11 because they openly admit that they want the United States to die. This normalcy bias tells us that:
- Terrorists hate the US.
- Terrorists want to kill Americans.
- Terrorists continually attack the US.
- Terrorists did it (whatever ‘it’ is).
Terrorists… It’s an easy ‘why’ to believe.
So if you’re trying to convince your friends and family that 9/11, Sandy Hook, the Vegas Shooting, and a host of other disasters and attacks have been perpetrated by their own government, you’re going to have to have a fully fleshed-out ‘WHY’. Why would people in our own government do such things? What do they have to gain from it? How can it be pulled off without someone spilling the beans? Why does the media play along? What is the agenda? Are they connected? Etc.
Understanding the nuts and bolts of your favorite conspiracy MUST include understanding the background motivations and social dynamics surrounding the conspiracy itself. No one is going to believe that the CIA killed JFK unless there is a clearly defined reason for it. No one is going to believe that Sandy Hook was a ‘false flag’ attack unless there is a clearly defined reason for it. No one is going to listen to anything you have to say for very long unless you can give them a well researched and logical ‘WHY’ to work with.
As I’m sure you can tell from the body of this article, I am aware of a wide variety of conspiracy theories that are popular with an equally wide variety of social groups. Democrats and Republicans have their favorite conspiracy ‘facts’. Different religious groups tend to believe their own special variety of conspiracies. You can even find common conspiracy beliefs that are defined by social classes, geographic areas, age brackets, and even gender. And that’s just it…
Chances are, you believe certain things that you don’t even realize are considered to be a conspiracy theory by another ‘group’ of people. As such, I believe that just about EVERYONE is a conspiracy theorist these days. In some way, we’ve all found ourselves in a group that thinks a certain way, and while that way of thinking seems like ‘fact’ to us, all you have to do is talk to someone from “that other group of idiots over there” to find out that it may not be a factual as you thought it was… especially when you run into someone from that other group that follows these 6 rules better than you do.
So, by all means, believe what you believe.