I love to ask people the question, what do you think is the difference between to Influence someone and to manipulate them?

Many people are confused by the difference and think that influencing others is really just another word for manipulation. But there are some important differences, and good influencers should know what that difference is.

If you think of a time when you felt manipulated, you probably only realised you were manipulated after it had already happened. You may look back on a situation and realise that had you known all of the information, you may have made a different decision. Manipulation usually results in a winner and a loser, with one person feeling resentful.

There are two key parts to the difference between manipulation and influencing – intent and respect.


If you have genuine intent to influence and not manipulate, then you are already on the right path. If your intent is to be the winner, to force someone to agree with you, or to have your own agenda satisfied, then you are on the road to manipulation through lying, deceit or by not giving someone all of the relevant information.


The second part is respect. True influencing starts from a position of understanding. If you truly take the time to understand someone else’s perspective, then they are more likely to be open to your influence. When you influence with respect, the other person freely agrees to do what you are asking them to do. When the other person always has the freedom to say yes or no, to agree or disagree, and they choose to agree with you, then you have influenced well.

How do you influence?

There are many influencing strategies to use. The work of Robert Cialdini is really helpful in articulating six key principles. Have a watch of his video describing the principles of persuasion. All of these principles have the potential to cross the line into manipulation, but if we keep our intent clear and maintain respect for the other person, then we are unlikely to cross the line.

Are you in the Central Coast, Sydney or Newcastle? Lets talk about transforming the effectiveness of your team through building your teams influencing skills.