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If I have aspirations that aren't exactly common, especially because they have a stigma around them, how can i make sure that I'll be taken seriously?

I want to work in architecture and design, but specialize in making public spaces accessible for people with disabilities. Although this is losing some of its stigma, it's still not exactly common. Whenever I talk about it, people seem uninterested, even if I show them how important it is to me. disabilities accessibility

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Eva’s Answer

When you are talking with someone and you are trying to gain their interest or get their buy in, you must remember the very important question, "why should they care"? You have to make it relevant to them. Having passion is great, it helps people be more interested in your topic and will keep them engaged in the conversation. But passion is not enough. You have to help them see how the topic relates to them.

Consider this, perhaps you don't like sports, maybe you hate them, and someone comes up to you at an event talking about their soccer career. You might like this person, you may want to be interested in them and what they have to say, but you just can't focus or find anything interesting in the pros and cons of wearing the right shoe to play soccer. If this person connected the topic to you, it might help you stay interested. Maybe they start talking about soccer and how it helped them feel included in society despite their disability, and how this park that they play at has an all inclusive playset for kids. This will definitely get your interest. Then, if that person starts talking about the shoes they wear to help them not trip, you might be more engaged.

It is hard to be interested in something that has no relevance for you, so always keep in mind that you need to let people know how the topic can effect them and why they should care. This is critical for any kind of presentation or form of communication, but can be applied in every day conversation as well.

Eva recommends the following next steps:

If your goal is to learn how to get people interested in your topic, learn different ways to motivate them, or make things relevant to them. You can look up Motivation and Persuasion techniques and books for assistance and can even use speechcraft literature as guidance
Join some groups with similar interest to help expand your network and learn
You could also try joining a Toastmasters group to work on your communication, if your goal is to convince people to care about this topic
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Ro’s Answer

Great question. First of all, thank you for pursuing your aspirations even when they're not common. Especially when they're not common. One thing you might do is join an online community where other people with similar aspirations and passions can communication and share. For example, I found an astronomer's meetup that helped me get in touch with other people locally who were interested in what I was, so we could talk openly and for hours.

Ro recommends the following next steps:

Learn more about urban planning - come at it from this side, then apply your ability lens to it.