I’ve always started my classes in persuasion with a discussion about the difference between it and two other forms of influence: manipulation and coercion. None of these three forms is completely free of deceit. In fact, we expect some degree of deception in much of our communication each day. Being told exactly what someone is thinking about you is not always what any of us wishes to hear. There are courtesy, societal and cultural considerations and topics that just aren’t discussed. But, among these three forms of influence, persuasion is the most transparent. It is something done WITH people, not TO people, as is the case with manipulation and coercion.
So here are a few thoughts on the importance of keeping persuasion in relationships, whether they are workplace or personal ones. Sure, some people can overdo persuasion, always wanting to debate issues, playing the devil’s advocate, or just going on too long when making a point. Persuasion is not always pure either. It can be mixed with the other two forms. Those situations aside, however, persuasion is a sort of barometer of openness — indicating that the people involved have chosen to hear what the other has to say, discuss, reason and/or debate rather than pull the wool over their eyes or force them to acquiesce in order to achieve their goals. Here’s more on that tinyurl.com/lty5eqq