Our planet getting hotter doesn’t always lend itself to easy, lighthearted conversations with new acquaintances. Yet talking about the problem is “the most important thing you can do to fight climate change,” says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. (If you haven’t watched the replay of Dr. Hayhoe’s talk with Terra.do students, you really should.)

So what’s the best way to proceed?

It can be tempting to bombard people—your neighbors down the street, say—with a barrage of information, as though knowing more about the science and its ramifications might be all it takes to convince people to care and to act. But, experts like Dr. Hayhoe advise, this isn’t a winning strategy—nor is going all-in on guilting people, or terrifying them, or spending much time at all arguing with anyone dedicated to, well, arguing.

Instead, a key first step for meaningful conversations about climate change is listening. Find out what people care about, what their values are, what they do for fun. Odds are they’ll tell you about something that relates to climate change. They might be skiers or anglers or gardeners, or be dedicated to caring for people who are less well-off, or just want a better future for their kids or grandkids. Crucially, you want to help them recognize how climate change affects the things that are already important to them.

We build on this at Terra.do in our Learning for Action fellowship, from tips for talking with reporters to respecting how peoples’ stances rarely shift much over a single conversation.

After all, we strive to help folks learn more, from the basic science of climate change to its political and economic aspects to what this means for farming and energy—and to then help you communicate accordingly. The last thing we want is for you to keep everything you learn to yourself!