Are you being influenced or manipulated?

“There is no better skill in life than encouraging others to your way of thinking…”

Whether you want to influence work colleagues, your boss, customers, friends and family – even your kids, it has to be said that getting support and agreement for your ideas and suggestions is a useful skill.

However accurate you think the above quote might be, truth is, we exercise our ‘Influence Muscle’ many times a day – pretty much whenever we interact with other people.  So I think it’s a good idea to develop confidence and competence in persuading people that it would be worth them changing their minds!

So, how can we improve our results in influencing others…?

I was recently asked to run a day’s workshop on “Influencing Others’.  As most of my work is in Behavioural Psychology, then it stands to reason why I might be asked to do this!

As you might imagine if you already know my work, the material I offered was based on the fact that we should consider influencing different people in different ways:

  • Some we should gently point out that others have done what we are suggesting with no discomfort or concern. Show testimonials and peer group approval that they’re doing the right thing
  • Others, we should heavily involve them in the persuasion. Spark their imaginations and allow them to talk themselves into it!  Add a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • There’s that set of people who will make a decision only after presentation of evidence and researched facts. Build their concurrence through a process of initial smaller agreements
  • And then the people who will be persuaded by being first, best or letting them think it was THEIR idea in the first place! Or by allowing them to respect your own authority.

For me, there is no better work on the power of influence than the work done by Robert Cialdini.  Google his name and discover his “Six influencing triggers” which are still the ‘go to’ material when seeking to convince others.

But what about Manipulation?

Well – here’s the thing.  In terms of the actual methods employed, there is no difference in the actual techniques of influencing someone and manipulating someone.

The difference in these labels must therefore be in the INTENTION of the action.  As such, influence is a win/win outcome; it was the right thing for the other person (and good for the influencer too).  manipulation, on the other hand, will end up with a loss for the other person… persuaded to do something whereby only the influencer gains.

Yoo wisdom: Learn the techniques of influence well.  Recognise when someone is using a technique against you (in ‘Manipulation mode’).  And maintain your integrity when seeking to exert ‘sway’ on another person.

Be your best Yoo!

 

Andy and the Yoo team

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