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April 13, 2022

Persuasion Vs Manipulation

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This is for anyone who wants to effectively communicate with others, in work and life, which I imagine is just about everyone. I wanted to dive into the differences between persuasion and manipulation. The punchline is, I feel like persuasion gets a bad reputation because it is often associated with manipulation. They both involve influencing someone to change, whether it be their opinion, their decisions, or their actions, but they go about accomplishing that in very different ways.

True persuasion is actually meant to be collaborative. The goal isn’t to convince someone of something they don’t believe, it’s to help them change their perspective and see things differently with new knowledge. Ultimately they change their mind because they voluntarily believe something new and they’ve come to that conclusion based on the details you’ve brought to their attention. In that way you’re helping them broaden their own understanding. While you might have selfish reasons for getting someone to believe something else, there’s nothing spiteful, malicious, or unfair about it.

What I just described is manipulation. Manipulation is where you coerce someone into doing, thinking, or feeling something that they don’t want to. It often involves using emotion so that people start thinking impulsively and unconsciously rather than logically. That’s why it’s so easy for us to see manipulation when it’s happening to someone else. We’re not engrossed in the emotion of it and therefore, can think more objectively and clearly. Manipulation is exploiting the other person and controlling them against their will, causing them harm.

So how can you be sure that you’re persuading and not manipulating? Well, if you want someone else to have an open mind and a willingness to change their beliefs, you need to have an open mind and willingness to change your beliefs. You need to meet them at that level. It confirms you have the right intentions.

Let’s bring this into your life - Is it possible you’re manipulating someone right now?

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