How to tell the difference between a persuasive argument and manipulation
How to tell the difference between a persuasive argument and a manipulation and protect yourself from being controlled. Whether it’s a negotiation over your next big purchase, or your friend trying to convince you to take a particular path, one of these techniques are being applied. By its very nature a debate, argument or negotiation is similar in one respect, all of these require a decision that is in question. The single most prominent issue is someone wants you to behave in a particular manner, which definitely benefits them, and may also benefit you, and you are undecided. When a tough decision faces us as humans, regardless of our sex, education or socio economic status, we try to use as much logic as our emotions allow. Yes, you read that correctly, all decisions are emotional. We may disguise our choices with a logical argument, or even the fuzziest of logics, but in the end it is an emotional trigger that makes the decision. So lets dissect the two methods of persuasion. First let’s look at the manipulation. You probably had an emotional reaction to the very word, and you should. No one likes to be “played”, and that’s what a manipulation is. The manipulator rarely offers a logical argument for their position. The manipulator will concentrate on the emotional aspect of the decision making process. They will tell you how great you will feel if you agree, or how much more popular, or affluent you will be. These are powerful emotions and let’s face it we all want those things. But is it the best decision? It is for them, because the manipulator wants something from you that will absolutely benefit them, and may or may not benefit you. That’s why most people have the emotional response to the word manipulation. It often leads to being taken advantage of. On the other hand, a persuasive argument will contain elements of both the emotional desires and logical reason for your decision. Let the game begin. Your job is to decide if they are giving you reasons to act that benefit you both, or mainly them. If your opponent have not given you enough logical and reasonable points to make a solid decision, you are being manipulated, not persuaded. A persuasive argument will leave little doubt as to the direction of your decision. The power of persuasion is that it not only satisfies the logical center of your brain but is strengthened by the positive emotional response as well. Since both of these areas must be addressed for a positive experience, the manipulative argument will make less sense somehow. Don’t worry you don’t have to figure out what is wrong, you’ll just know it’s not a good thing. Protect yourself from the manipulator by looking for both sides of the argument. If you have reached the end of this story then you have experienced the power of persuasion. Remember the first sentence. the logic was for you to learn something, the emotional trigger was for you to protect yourself. And you read the whole thing. Works, and hopefully we both gained something from the experience.