Influence has been on my mind lately (and not in a Klout sort of way). Of course, Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence, is in my large pile of books to read but I just haven’t had the time to read it or to even get beyond thinking that I need to dive deeper into the subject.
It is not that the subject of influence is a foreign concept; I am a marketing & PR professional after all. However, my thoughts regarding influence seem to always follow a linear downward slope that ranges from influence to propaganda.
Let’s take a look at the definition of each:
- Influence: The power to direct the thinking or behavior of others; usually indirectly
- Persuasion: The act of reasoning or pleading with someone to accept a belief or course of action
- Manipulation: To control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage
- Propaganda: Ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause
Given human nature in the business world, do influence, persuasion, manipulation, and propaganda live independently and separately? Or, is it a domino effect caused by the successful use of influence and hunger for more control?
I am curious just how slippery the slope is from influence to propaganda and where ethics, values, morals come into play. How about you?
Saying What You Mean: Influence vs. Persuasion: A Critical Distinction for Leaders
“In time-sensitive circumstances, positive persuasion techniques are a handy means for expediting results. However, for most leaders, influence is the preferred means to a productive end. This is because influence is based on a foundation of trust and credibility that has been solidified over time.
Persuasion techniques, when applied with integrity and a sincere intention to make a positive contribution in an individual’s life or to the betterment of the group, are a powerful lever for moving the decision-making process along. In situations where we’ve made the proper investment in relationships, we can use persuasion techniques such as framing, fairness, and timing to show respect for the people who deem us influential.”
Copyblogger: How to Simplify Persuasion With Marketing Ju-Jitsu
“Changing people’s minds can be extremely difficult. And when core beliefs and values are involved, it’s downright impossible. Let’s face it… it can be tough enough to persuade people to act when they already agree with you.
Marketing Ju-Jitsu (a term I first heard from Clayton Makepeace) follows the same principle. You’re acknowledging and using the core beliefs and values of your prospects to persuade, rather than trying to change firmly set minds.”
Shannon Paul’s Very Official Blog: Is manipulation an essential part of business communication?
“Our behaviors as consumers and individuals are often based on lies – not lies told by marketers and PR professionals, but on lies that we tell ourselves.”
“Manipulation doesn’t have to be a negative thing, either. Sometimes it’s a strong, but positive sales pitch, or using pictures of emaciated children to guilt us into donating. Other times, some pretty pushy people use whatever means possible to get things to go their way, even if it’s not always legal. Everyone has their own methods of manipulation and if we’re not careful we can fall for some pretty dirty tricks.”
YouTube (observationspring): Edward Bernays on Propaganda and Public Relations
Conversation Agent: PR, Not Propaganda
Happy reading & watching!
[Image source: unwrapyourmind.com]