Persuasion & Influence
Persuasion, according to Wordnet (from Princeton University), means communication intended to induce belief or action. This very broad definition lends itself to general use in numerous contexts. For instance, getting your child to eat all of his/her vegetables would insinuate an act of persuasion by you. Asking someone out on a date would also constitute persuasion, since one individual is trying to induce an act of "going out" or "seeing each other." Furthermore, a sales team and marketing department can be said to base their jobs on persuasion. A sales team's intent is to induce action that would cause a potential client to buy. While the marketing team propagates material to induce belief in their particular service or product. From this small selection of examples we can begin see the extent on which persuasion is the lock & key to the portal of efficacy in our personal and professional lives.
Influence, according to the American Heritage Dictionary: A power affecting a person, thing, or course of events, especially one that operates without any direct or apparent effort. Influence also has to do with the power to sway, affect, move, or impel a certain condition. As I will use it throughout this work; I refer mostly to ones ability or power to affect. We are bound to influence by our very natures. From our deepest core, we wish to influence at first, our environment. As children we learn that we can influence our parents by several means to have our ways. As we mature we also become aware of the influence of others on our psyches, our actions, and our behaviors. Influence is a constant throughout our lives, from the influence of peers to the influence of ideologies and culture itself.
Persuasion and influence can be taken as a mutual force that feeds off of each other. Generally speaking influence has to do with the intention & power of a specific act or communication. While persuasion has to do with the process or system used as a strategy to follow through on the intended influence. They complement each other and synchronize to amplify each others force. As a natural and unalienable endowment these human attributes form a communication potential of immense proportions. The potential inherent in these functions of man are beyond the realm of comprehension. The only limit within these attributes is in our own abilities and capacities to develop and use them for life-affirming endeavors.
Our basic educational system teaches us very little about persuasion and influence. Unfortunately we are many times ignorant victims of these forces; yet, we have not a clue whence or where they came from. It is important to firstly realize that persuasion and influence are natural components of our social (and personal) lives. After all persuasion and influence also takes place within our own minds. We persuade and influence ourselves to act, behave, and be according to certain norms. Our own personal abilities to persuade and influence ourselves largely determines our level of self-esteem, self-confidence, and level of achievement in our lives. By allowing persuasion and influence to have life-affirming residence within our minds we can actively improve on these faculties to further benefit ourselves and others around us.