Saturday, November 18, 2006

What Is The Difference Between Persuation And Influence

Persuasion And Influence And Attitude

If you want to really devleope a deep understanding in the field of persuasion and influence then a good place to start is with the definition of the words themselves.

These words are often using interchangeable however if you want to nurture a deeper understanding of the subject you need to start with a deeper understanding of their definition.


Influence is a catch-all term. Whenever you attempt to deliberately direct or change a persons thoughts, feeling or behaviors then influence is said to have occurred.


Persuasion is really a subset of Influence. It is when you use communication to try and deliberately change a persons attitude. If a person attitude has changed then persuasion has occurred.

It's a subtle but important difference.

Both term are concerned with deliberate change but they are different in that persuasion require a certain level of communication such that a attitude change in adopted by the person. This communication is likely to be a combination of verbal and non-verbal messages.

Influence on the other hand can be achieve with out any communication is directed to acheiveing a specific external behavioral change without gaining any change in the person’s attitude.


A good example is the lay out of department stores. The area between section is polished hard floor. This makes for quick and easy walking between departments, however when you enter a deparment, for example woman’s clothing, the area on which the stands are placed in often covered with a soft lush carpet. This in more comfortable on your feet and also encourages you to walk at at a slower pace and browse at what is on offer. No internal change of attitude has occurred but a external change in behavior has.


We have attitudes about everything, some are educated and sensibly rationalized attitudes other are attitude we have picked up through our experience of life. A person’s attitude to a certain degree defines who they are. “I don’t like American cars” It is a persons evaluation of the object, in this case American cars. Persuasion would be the tool we would need to change their attitude in this instance.

A cleverly constructed show room or TV advertisement might influence the person to look at the car but level of persuasion would be required on the salesman’s part to change the person’s attitude enough to want purchase the car. Incidentally the act of the person buying the car will dramatically change their attitude. The Law of consistency make it very difficult for us to deny our own actions. “I’ve purchased this car therefore I must like American cars.” (Until it breaks down after a few months!)

To your persuasion success.

Jason D

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