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Do You Manipulate or Persuade When You Speak?
Frank DiBartolomeo --  Presentation Coach For Technical Professionals Frank DiBartolomeo -- Presentation Coach For Technical Professionals
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Centreville, VA
Sunday, July 18, 2021


“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.”

? Desmond Tutu

In any presentation you deliver, you are always trying to sell something. It could be a product, an idea, or a service.

It is a universal rule that creating a new customer is far greater than the effort for you to keep a repeat customer.

This is a choice between short-term gain for long-term pain or short-term pain for long-term gain. The latter will always have a better return on investment of your time and money than the former.

This article will examine two selling methods, manipulation and persuasion, and their long-term effects on creating and retaining customers.


Dictionary.com defines manipulation as “to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner.”

Putting aside the notion that it is not ethically right to influence someone skillfully in an unfair manner, it is just plain not good business.

Using manipulation when you speak will always have a harmful long-term effect on your speaking.

You can manipulate your audience in a variety of ways.

  • You can just plain lie to get your audience to view things your way

  • You can tell the truth but apply it in an inappropriate context

  • You can omit pertinent facts from your presentation that would detract from your message

Manipulation always backfires because eventually, the people you convince using manipulation will discover your subterfuge.

Developing compelling arguments for your message and persuade, not manipulate your audience, is hard work. But it is the only kind of work that will build your customer base and keep them coming back.


Dictionary.com defines persuasion as to “induce to believe by appealing to reason or understanding; convince.”

In persuasion, there is no deception. First, you tell your audience all the facts relevant to your argument. Then, you use logic to persuade your audience to agree with your message.

It is vital to note trying to persuade everyone in your audience to your way of thinking is a “fools” errand. Changing your message to accommodate the maximum number of people in your audience will dilute your original message. Instead, have solid arguments for your message and then let your audience decide.

In trying to persuade everyone in your audience to your way of thinking, you will eventually reach a point where the same measure of persuasion will give you less and less return on your time as time goes on. This is called the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Best Long-Term Results

Using persuasion with solid arguments in favor of your message has the best chance of convincing the majority of your audience to your way of thinking.

It also has the best chance of long-term results with your audience.

Using manipulation to convince your audience of your argument is a dead end because, eventually, your audience will discover your subterfuge, severely damaging your reputation.

It is somewhat like the story of the boy who cried wolf. After you using manipulation in a presentation and your audience discovering it, all the persuasion you can muster for future presentations will fall on deaf ears.

You respect the honest speaker. You know he or she is the person who delivers a presentation honestly, not shading any of the facts.

People return to hear honest speakers over and over again.

In this article, we have explored the difference between using manipulation and persuasion in convincing your audience of your way of thinking.

Manipulation works in the short-term, but once your audience discovers your deception, and this discovery will happen, they will be suspect of your arguments in future presentations if they even attend them.

Take the high road by using the strength of your arguments to convince your audience of your way of thinking.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Use persuasion instead of manipulation, and you will always win the race.

Call to Action

  • Resist the urge to use manipulation to convince your audience to your way of thinking

  • Use persuasion in your arguments presented to your audience. It has the best long-term benefits for you and your audience

  • Your reputation as a speaker is your “stock in trade.” Use persuasion instead of manipulation to secure and increase your good reputation with your audience.

“I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.” –– Dwight D. Eisenhower


Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster, in 2002 because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.

Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.frankdibartolomeo.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Frank can be reached at frank@frankdibartolomeo.com and (703) 509-4424.

Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!

“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”

Available now at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Frank DiBartolomeo, Jr.
Title: President
Group: DiBartolomeo Consulting International, LLC
Dateline: Centreville, VA United States
Cell Phone: (703) 509-4424
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