When you surf the web or scorell Facebook, do you get the feeling that there’s always someone ready to sell you something?
If we change perspective, there are a lot of people in many different fields (personal growth like me, marketing, fitness, etc.) that would like to show you a new method they found or used that could lead you to stunning results.
Their aim is to be influential, but this is often misunderstood as manipulation: every day I talk with smart people, who created a revolutionary system in their field, or have a great idea, but they don’t share it with the world for fear of being considered a manipulator.

The topic is subtle and sensitive because the boundary between influence and manipulation is thin. Nonetheless, the basis for our discussion is that influence is positive, while manipulation is negative. If this post guides you to a new perspective you’ve never considered before, I’m helping you to grow, so my influence is positive; if I make you feeling guilty to pressure you into doing something, I am manipulating you.
For sure, it is not always black or white: often in marketing some strategies could be perceived as manipulative at first sight, but their intent is positive – let more and more people know about a method that works.

How can a person with a smart solution be influential? How can he/she share this with the world without being manipulative?
My idea is: change the way you perceive influence. The points below will help you see influence under a totally different light:
1) Start from yourself: influence is not something that belongs to others but to yourself. It is how you perceive yourself and it starts from your belief system: if you believe that influence equals manipulation, you should work on this misconception before sharing your ideas with others. And the only way to do this is that you have a truly positive intent: you cannot convince yourself to be influential if you are selling ice to the Eskimo; you won’t ever be a manipulator if your goal is to share a new system that allows elderly people to stay fit for a long time.
2) Listen and understand: an essential part of being influential – not manipulative – lays in the ability to listen and understand people. The influential person is able to understand other people’s needs and tries to adapt to these with his/her tools.
3) Connect: right after listening and understanding comes connection. This creates closeness, people can share their circumstances and/or experiences, their perspectives and this is crucial to let people know how much the influential person knows about this topic.

I hope I have been influential with this post, because I hope you see your ability to influence others as positive now. I’d like to hear from you about this, as it’s a hot topic and deserves even more insights, so leave a comment below!