In Persusasion vs. Manipulation, we saw the significant difference between the two as being intent. Then, in The Telltale Signs of Manipulation, we learned something that manipulators will do that persuaders never will, and how to ensure we do not fall victim to that kind of behavior.
There’s one more important area I’d like to explore. This was the second asterisked point at the conclusion of the first article; the suggestion that caution and questioning of one’s motives is always advised when in the persuasion process.
Why? Simply because one could rationalize they are persuading when they are actually manipulating. As human beings, this is something we might do when desiring something too strongly. Plain and simply, when we rationalize, we tell ourselves “rational lies.”
A persuader stays constantly aware of this. They self-question, “am I doing something that will in any way hurt that person or be contrary to their interests?”
One common rationalization, most notably within the context of sales, is that you are doing it “for their own good.” This is tricky because, as one reader, John pointed out in a previous comment, “who are we to decide what is in THEIR own best interest?” I agree…sometimes. Other times, it would seem more appropriate.
Example: a sales prospect doesn’t realize how much our widget will add to their life until we persuade them otherwise. Afterward, having experienced the helpful results, he is grateful we were patient and took the time to help him. He then becomes a huge referral source. And, we don’t have to persuade the people he refers because our referral source has already passed along his “know, like and trust” feelings about us.
Important point: good intent alone is not enough. IF you sense that you are causing them to feel any of the negative emotions listed in the previous article, then you most likely are in fact manipulating. And, unless you are saving someone from some clear and present danger to their lives, the end does not justify the means.
Key: stay attuned to your authentic core. It will guide you along the correct path. If you yourself feel any of the negative emotions previously described you will know you are veering off the path of persuasion and onto the road of manipulation.
So, yes; persuasion good — manipulation bad (at least in Bob’s world). 🙂 And, just as we would not want to be manipulated by others, we must be sure we don’t — even unintentionally — do it to someone else.
Please weigh in with your thoughts.
*Couldn’t resist looking at one more aspect of this topic, and that’s when getting what you want really doesn’t affect the other person either way. To read, please click here.