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Influence and Manipulation – What’s the Difference?

How to InfluenceWhen they first start to work with me, some of my clients don’t like the idea of learning how to influence because they see it as the same as manipulation.  But there is a significant difference.  One that sets the influencer apart, builds trust and is a significant factor in helping you achieve your goals in life and in your business.

What is Influencing?

Influencing is the ability to have people buy into you, your idea, your business.  It can smooth relationships so that they are more collaborative and harmonious, even in times of challenge.  It requires the ability to understand the motivations of the other person, their hopes and fears, as well their objectives.  This knowledge, through skilful influencing can help you achieve your own objectives with greater ease.

What is Manipulation?

With manipulation, the objective is to have your own needs met, regardless of the impact on the other person and whether your idea is right for them or not.  The process can involve being selective with the truth, leaving out details to misdirect your target so that there is nothing which could dissuade the other party; or it may involve outright lies to mislead them entirely.  The manipulator is without conscience.  They will convince themselves that they aren’t doing anything wrong but they usually end up paying the price in one form or another.  It destroys trust and, at its worst, as happened with an old colleague of mine who was a master manipulator, it can even cause a few to end up spending time at Her Majesty’s pleasure.  But that’s extremely rare.  Suffice to say, that it is a short term strategy with long term consequences.

Influencing is an artform and, even if you don’t win the sale, or convince to your case, if it is done in the right way, you will build trust and strengthen your reputation so that you win more for the future.

The Differences

It’s the difference between:

  • Sales and service
  • Deviousness and conscience
  • Competing and collaborating
  • Forcing and enabling
  • Ego and humility
  • Self-serving and win-win

You’re Influencing Whether You Know it or Not

In each moment we are influencing to one degree or another – from the way we dress, to the words we use, the tone we adopt, what we don’t say, what we do and don’t do.  In addition, there are ways we undermine our message or enhance it unconsciously.  This passive approach can cost you dear.  Isn’t it better to influence people positively?

A Strength

If you think that influence sounds weak, you are very much mistaken.  It takes a lot of strength and courage, as well as a blend of humility and emotional intelligence.  It is a skill for those who care about results and relationships. And for those who care about their reputation too.

How to Improve your Influencing Skills

If you would like to improve your ability to influence, why not join me on the 19th August for a one-day workshop?  The (modest) investment is greatly outweighed by the value you to you in all areas of your life.  You’re worth it, aren’t you?

PS    The early bird discount is ending soon – book your place now.

PPS  Of course, if you prefer working 1:1, this is possible too.  Give me a call on 0845 130 0854.  You’ll be glad you did!