The difference between persuasion and manipulation

Let’s go back to the old discussion about influencing and persuading.

Anyone who knows me knows that I study persuasion because I was very shy in my teens.

Yes. I learned to like themes that involve communication, public speaking and everything related to influence and so, someone always asks me:

What is the difference between persuading and manipulating?

In this text I will talk about it, but first, it is necessary to conceptualize persuasion.

For Juliet Erickson, persuading means being able to be relevant enough to the other to influence your way of thinking or acting. The author argues that learning to persuade is possible.

Robert Cialdini argues that before any situation where we need to influence, that we pay attention to the  context , the situation.  We must then create an ideal context for the negotiation to take place.

(For example, a teacher influences inside a classroom; outside of a classroom, he may not be as influential).

Cialdini calls this pre-sweating , the name of his last book. The context involves the relationship, because without it it becomes much more difficult to create persuasive anchors.

The point is that reason is the best guide when it comes to whether they are convincing us or manipulating us. When we are manipulated, we feel it in the stomach; when they convince us, it’s in the heart, says Juliet Erickson.

For example, research has shown that 40% of a decision is based on facts, evidence, opportunities; 60% depend on the degree of understanding, trust and empathy with the person or idea in question.

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The whole process of persuasion depends on relationships, especially first impressions.  In a presentation, it is common to make sense of slides and data, but forget to study the individuals who will be there.

A very dynamic, quick and inspiring person can fail in the face of an analytical interlocutor, who needs facts, time to think and a logical and gradual chain to make decisions.

Ultimately, then, whoever manipulates, convinces someone of something they don’t want to do. Who really convinces is helping others to make decisions.

At the end of it all, persuasion involves the process of getting the other to decide, considering their needs. Manipulation does the same thing, only with a lie attached.

As a final example, let’s say that a manager promises a promotion to one of his employees; this manager knows that at the end of the year he will go to another division and that the promotion may not happen in practice.

The boss can then manipulate that employee, asking for his commitment and trying to convince him that he will have a career advance. Note that in this case, the manipulation happens because the manager will generate an expectation that possibly will not happen – and that should have been made clear.

Did you understand the difference?

I hope I convinced you about the difference between manipulation and persuasion.

There is yet another concept that is fraud. In this modality, the fraudster manipulates the victim with the intention of obtaining an advantage (eg money / goods) without the interlocutor realizing that he is doing so.

I hope you enjoyed this content. If so, leave a comment to help or share it with your network. I will leave other articles that I have already written about influence / persuasion.