Subtle, but a powerful Art!

Interpersonal skills!

As a trainer, it is one of the areas that I help my students develop, and after looking at this skill from another vantage point, I'm certain that I'm training my students to become better manipulators! Actually, it would be accurate to say I've been manipulating them to be better manipulators!

Before judgments are passed, I would like you to take off the narrow lenses,most of us are used to wearing, through which we look at the word 'manipulation'.

I'm yet to come across any content where it is expressed in a positive manner, and that's probably why I decided to write about it.

Every day, if our actions involving other people are closely scrutinized, it becomes crystal clear that we are manipulating the person involved at some level.

Manipulation is nothing but convincing the other person to do what you want.

Unfortunately, this inherent skill is leveraged on oblivious souls and it paves way for catastrophic incidents and 'manipulation' ends up garnering a lot of flak!

It might look like I'm sympathizing with the word 'manipulation', but coming to think of it, I'm just merely trying to shine some light on a skill that is present in most of us, but we don't try to hone it consciously because of the negativity surrounding it.

Be it your family, friend circle, or your team at the organisation you work for, if you’re able to influence the said group in a direction that is part of your overall strategic direction of how life should head for you, you’re a skilled manipulator!

If you’re in a career that involves working with a team, if you manage to realize that manipulation is something that you need for building cohesion with others and to eventually use that to achieve whatever you want through them, leadership is going to come easily.

I’ve been working in the training domain for a while now, and I am fully aware of how 'crowd control' is a huge measure of a trainer’s manipulation skills. If my delivery style doesn’t convince majority of the class to listen to what I’ve to offer, I’ve failed in manipulation. Lately, I started taking full ownership for how my classes turn out to be, and in my effort to get better at convincing them to set sail in a particular direction, I’ve been able to develop a reservoir of communication styles that could be used for better manipulation.

For example, I once trained a class that had a rebellious boy who had a tendency to mention irrelevant points, and was causing the class to head off on a tangent. I managed to catch an objective moment in the midst of the whole situation, and instead of ignoring his irrelevant point, I wrote it on the board and announced to the whole class about why it can be a way to look at the topic, but it would be ideal to look at it from other angles that could help the overall class. When I did this, the student became aware of how he was being heard, and whatever he was mentioning had a chance to go on the board. Suddenly he had the responsibility of giving better points. It worked brilliantly, and that’s when I realized that mere acknowledgement of people’s views can be the stepping stone for increasing your influence on them, and helping you manipulate them better.

To some extent, from a personal development point of view, it is clear that your discipline for achieving what you want is completely based on how well you’re able to convince yourself to push through resistance. In other words, how well you are able to manipulate your brain that tries to present you with multiple excuses for procrastinating on a task!

Actually, there's a very interesting link here. If you're good at manipulating yourself to exercise discipline in most areas of life, you naturally rise to a point that garners attention from people. People tend to give attention to those who are able to lay a certain level of influence on them, and even before you know, you've already done your ground work for manipulating them.

I’m not advocating using this subtle skill on people to achieve immoral objectives. Your moral compass should always be relied on when you use this skill. Life is a continuous battle of convincing people to collectively achieve something because it is easier that way, and team work usually delivers in spades. Manipulation is a double-edged sword that needs to be respected in this battle, and it should be removed from the scabbard with care!

And, on some final thoughts, suaveness, charm, language fluency, calmness, objectivity are some of the most commonly used tools in the art of manipulation. People are very easily appealed by these tools, and even without their knowledge, the artist would have already done his magic, and yes, the art of manipulation is on display!

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