Can You Persuade Without Manipulating?

People who are effective in sales, persuade. They do not, I repeat, do not manipulate.

But really, what is the difference between the two? Aren’t they the same? A challenging question, isn’t it? But it’s a good one for sure and in fact, the differences are eye opening.

Let’s look at the facts

Whether you are trying to persuade or manipulate, in both cases you are trying to get someone to buy into something they would not normally do or think of, without being influenced.

Persuasion and manipulation are, in a sense cousins, good cousin and evil cousin. After all, both are based on certain principles of human nature, human action and interaction.

People who excel at persuasion and manipulation have a keen understanding as to the rules that apply to both, but more importantly, they know how to use them. That’s why you need to be weary of someone who you know is bad to the bone, yet an expert at people skills. In essence, the principles are the same, but the results could not be more different.

What is the difference?

Yup, you got it, intention. Experts have provided the following explanation:

“Manipulation aims at control, not cooperation. It results in a win/lose situation. It does not consider the good of the other party. Persuasion is just the opposite. In contrast to the manipulator, the persuader seeks to enhance the self-esteem of the other party. The result is that people respond better because they are treated as responsible, self-directing individuals.”

See? Change the intention and you get different results. People who try to persuade, are in it to help. On the other hand, however, people who try to manipulate are out to hurt you.

How do you catch a manipulator?

Manipulators almost always cause pain, and if pain isn’t the outcome, they most certainly don’t care about if that does happen. The manipulator is self-focused, and only in it to promote their own self-interest. They do only what they feel is for their own benefit and, if someone must suffer as a result, then so be it.

The truth is, it’s not only negative for a good life practice, it is absolutely counterproductive for your business life. Manipulators collect employees, but never excel at putting a team together.

They can have customers, but it’s usually the revolving door kind. Referrals? You can forget that, not happening. And, if ever discovered, well, it’s like having a front row seat and watching your career die a slow death. In their personal lives, manipulators can have family and friends, but never have any fulfillment or happiness that drives from them.

So, what is the difference?

Yes, both persuaders and manipulators know the how and why of human motivation. And, both use their knowledge to cause the action they desire a person to take. However, the crucial difference between the two is that while manipulators use that knowledge to their advantage only, the persuader uses it to the other person’s advantage.

Ultimately, your influence and ability to persuade is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first. If you are like me, I truly believe that we get back what we put out. When you setout to help make a difference for someone else, it’s a reciprocal behavior that’s going to comeback and reward you over and over again.

Angela Civitella is a certified business coach and founder of INTINDE


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