Last year, I wrote a book about persuasion, in which I stressed that we all use principles of persuasion daily in our personal and professional lives. But what, exactly, does “persuasion” mean?
It’s a question I bet most of you haven’t spent a lot of time asking yourselves. “Persuasion” is ethically winning the heart and mind of your target. Whether you want someone to buy your product, agree to your new idea or take you up on your offer — if you are seeking a “yes,” you are engaged in persuasion.
“Influence,” on the other hand, can be defined as the capacity to become a compelling force that produces effects on the opinions, actions and behavior of others. Think of influence as your professional and personal credibility, your organizational political capital, your corporate “sway.” If persuasion is an action, influence is a state or condition.
Persuasion is not psychological manipulation, nor does it involve using bribes or trickery to get what you want. You should always be operating with the best interests of your target in mind.
Could you use persuasive tactics in a manipulative and self-serving manner? Sure. Will you reach agreement? Absolutely.
But only once.
After that, your persuasive powers are dead. Manipulation does not help build long and lucrative careers.
(Photo by Gratisography)