Persuasion vs Manipulation
Persuasion and Manipulation are two words in English language that confuse non-natives a lot. There are many similarities in the two concepts, and because of overlapping, people think that the two can be used interchangeably. There are people who are good persuaders, and there are good manipulators. Both try to reason and impress others to agree to their point of view. However, even if there are similarities making manipulation a cousin or half brother of persuasion, there are differences that will be highlighted in this article.
Persuasion is an act of influencing someone else to lead him in a certain direction. When you try to explain a certain course of behavior as logical and correct, and others accept your point of view as they feel it is mutually beneficial, you have succeeded in your persuasion. If you have got very good marks in your test and ask your mother for an expensive gift, you are trying to persuade her to get you the gift. This is persuasion as she sees the logic behind your request and buys the gift.
Selling a product or a service to customers is persuasion as the salesman tries to generate the need for the product or service in the mind of the customer so that he buys it.
Manipulation is the act of taking advantage of the gullibility of others and deceiving them to agree to your point of view. Manipulation is not mutually beneficial. It is advantageous only to the manipulator. At the subconscious level, people try to control each other in an organization or even in a family. They are trying to manipulate rather than persuade as they are doing so for their own benefit.
Even manipulation can be for the good of the individual as when the mother of a child tells her that she can have one cookie from the jar of cookies instead of eating them all. This creates an illusion of choice and the child readily agrees to have one for fear of losing the jar to you without a single cookie. You have manipulated the behavior of the child for her good. Manipulation can be bad also, and more often than not, manipulation is bad as the intent of the manipulator is to deceive and derive benefit for him.
What is the difference between Persuasion and Manipulation?
• Management of others in a shrewd manner so as to derive benefit is manipulation
• Induce change in behavior or thinking of another person in a logical and rational manner by reasoning with him or presenting arguments is persuasion.
• Manipulators might achieve short term success, but in the long term, people know who is manipulating and who is persuading them.
• Persuasion is an art of getting what you want by inducing changes in the behaviors of others though this is also what manipulation is. However, the difference lies in your intent.
• A person with good communication skills but bad intent is dangerous as he can be a good manipulator.