The term ‘manipulation’ itself has an instant negative feel as it describes people who use others by using tactics against someone to get what you want. However when described as ‘social influence’, it suddenly sounds a lot better, which is why you won’t be surprised how often this name for it is used instead. For example, the way that doctors try to persuade their patients to start leading a healthier lifestyle whether it is through guilt tripping or light shaming. Similarly, seduction can also be seen as manipulation as you are persuading someone knowing that they may have a weakness to it. Ultimately, manipulation is trying to get what you want by choosing a weakness of someone and targeting that weakness until they cave in.
Businesses are great at it; try to think of the last billboard or advert on TV that you saw, it is almost guaranteed that they used some form of manipulation to try and get you to buy their product/service. So what are the most common methods when trying to manipulate people?
The ‘Guilt Trip’ – This is one the most common forms of manipulation and involves making someone feel guilty about something before suggesting something that you need from them. This method is actually quite natural, children are especially good at this without even knowing. Remember back to your childhood when you wanted an ice cream but your parents said no, the instant approach was to find some leverage that we had over them; ‘but remember that time when you forgot to pick me up from school and I was left out in the rain’.
Body Language – Body language says far more than words ever will and if you master the art of body language, you will soon be able manipulate people in any way you want. For example, you could be in a conversation that isn’t going your way but as soon as you spot a key piece of body movement that could suggest nervousness or even that the person likes you, suddenly you have taken the wheel and can steer it to wherever you want to go.
Personalised Greeting – You can actually change how you greet people which sends a message to the receiver; for example, if you say ‘hello, friend’ or ‘hi, buddy’, this will play on their minds and they will be less likely to let you down in the future as you have been kind to them and suggested that you should stay on each others sides. Furthermore, if you call your managers at work ‘boss’, the majority of the time you are putting yourself in a great position. Their egos will be somewhat massaged and you are showing that you understand the chain of command and by doing that, you could actually be putting yourself up that corporate ladder. This psychological manipulation tactic actually works rather well and the person will have no idea they are being subtly manipulated.