What is the Difference Between Influence and Persuasion? In the social media world, we often hear of influencers who subtly promote products or brands to their followers. This phenom has taken the world by storm in the last ten years. As a member of the Black Sheep Community, we are often seen as either influencers or persuaders. Meaning we, through our communication, sway the non-member public to our point of view.
But what is an Influencer, and how does it differ from a Persuader? How closely are these two concepts related? Regardless of the leadership position you are in, understanding the distinction will mean the difference between failure and success.
Firstly, the two concepts or terms are most certainly related to each other. Being able to influence people is often misconstrued as persuasion and vice versa. Secondly, they both have pros and cons.
The difference between Influence and Persuasion can be understood by knowing its terminology.
The terminology of the Difference between Influence and Persuasion is given below.
the ability to present a case or statement so that the other party has the information to change their point of view themselves. This means that you use no force or cohesion to sway them; through listening to your statement or argument, they reach their conclusion and change their opinion—a long-term change.
using your communication skills to temporarily change the opinion of others to achieve a short-term goal. Persuasion is getting people to take action, such as in sales and politics. The buy-in is most certainly short-lived, and often there is a feeling of change again, such as buyer’s remorse.
How Does the Difference Between Influence and Persuasion Apply to Being a Thought Leader?
When you want to get your point across to an audience, you need both these skills. You must be able to influence and persuade at the same time. The required measures of each are dependent on the situation, and it is your primary job to understand when to use each. Creating lasting change in any environment requires you to use the two communicative styles in unison.
Firstly, your influencing skill will be tested as you will have to present your cause with facts and context. This strategy often gets you in the firing line. In other words, you must be able to stand firm as your opinion gets scrutinized by peers and detractors. For you to increase your influence on a specific topic, you would first have to establish trust. This trust will begin to build your credibility with your audience.
Credibility comes from four core aspects, Integrity, Intent, Capabilities, and Results. These core characteristics will show your ability to back up your opinion.
can only be displayed by being honest. Honest about shortcomings and achievements. In the world today, your life is on show permanently using social media, and any disparity from your cause will hurt your ability to influence.
your intent must be clearly understood. You must show your desires (intent) by meticulously spelling out your motives and what you want to achieve.
you will not influence if you cannot show that you can do what you want yourself. By leading from the front, you will have more influence over your audience.
your track record will speak volumes. If your historical results show that you are not capable of results, you will have very little influence over your audience.
To expand your influence, you will also need to engage and connect with your audience. This engagement will get your audience involved with your cause. Your audience will have various opinions about the project or cause, and these should be understood and possibly integrated into your process. This sincere interaction with the people around you will increase the level of influence that you can exact.
Creating Your Influence
Your clear vision and defined results will also give you more influence over your audience. Let’sLet’s be clear if you are standing on the soapbox and trying to motivate your audience to action. Yet, the desired results are not clear and defined, and you will not get the dynamic response you desire. In any social environment, people will only take action once they understand what they will achieve by their action.
Creating profound and lasting influence, you also need to share your passion for your cause. Your passion is what will get people to listen first of all. A straightforward analogy is if you cannot display your passion through your words and actions, no audience will follow you. Passion is not fake; it is an authentic manifestation of your belief and drives for your cause.
To be an authentic influencer in leadership or any capacity, you need to display and enact these simple principles in every action you take. This will create a profound and lasting influence on your audience over time. Actual influence does not happen overnight. It talks time for people to process your actions and words in their world and circumstance.
When it comes to persuasion, it is often described as the ability to sell ice to Eskimos. The sales and marketing industry most often uses the art of persuasion. As the definition above states, you will temporarily change your audience’s understanding to achieve a temporary goal. No, whether this is to sell them a product or whether this is to make them join your cause, the process is all the same.
When you first start your journey as a thought leader or an activist, you will most likely use your persuasive skills more at first. Without the benefit of trust or connection, you will have to present your case differently to your audience to get buy-in. This is where your persuasion skills, your sales skills will become vital to your success.
We have all met actual salespeople in our lives. These are the people that can present an unknown subject or topic in such a way that you start paying attention. You might even want to buy the product or start having serious thoughts about it. They can instill trust and confidence in a short time by being sincere and polite.
Persuasiveness is how you will get noticed and how you will make the initial impact on your audience. If you have not noticed it yet, actual salespeople have an excellent vocabulary and speak with authority. When you take your stand, you must be prepared to be questioned and criticized. One of the best ways to prepare is to have all your facts and arguments well planned out and ready. This will give you the confidence to speak your truth.
Know When to Use These Skills in Unison.
As activists and thought leaders, we will constantly be using our effective and persuasive skills to navigate the world. People often misinterpret these skills we want to communicate with. Therefore, you need to be authentic in all your actions and words.
Human beings have the innate ability to detect when someone is incongruent and dishonest. Or at least most people have the ability. If you want to start a cause and get buy-in from your social structures, you need always to bring the actual message.
Your leadership journey will forever be understood in those first few times that you stand up and make yourself heard. So, practice your influencing skills by being authentic and credible. When you take up your cause, don’t give up when you get resistance; don’t stop just because it seems complicated.
Build your image and keep the focus on your project so that you can build your credibility and trust. This might take longer than you want it to take, but you will see the results in the end.
Black Sheep Community and The Difference between Influence and Persuasion
For activists and thought leaders, there is a place where you can share with peers that have experienced much the same as you have. If you have a message that you want to share with the world and are not sure how to approach it or begin, Black Sheep Community has the answer. Here you can connect with like-minded people committed to making a difference, and you can share in their success stories. You can get direction as to how to find yours.
Make the Black Sheep Community your new base of operations and share the many skills and abilities that our members share. You will understand the power of influence and persuasion and how to use these critical skillsets to further your cause. Join us today and start your journey as a thought leader.
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