Manipulate with cynicism or maneuver with sincerity?

Can we speak without manipulating? This question comes up regularly as soon as we talk about storytelling. But it mainly haunts those who are sincere and have good intentions. So how do you prepare without feeling that you’re manipulating others?

We could adopt a cynical stance and argue that manipulation is at the root of all speech, as long as it is prepared to obtain something. When you think about it, the comparison between the sincere speaker and the manipulator, is like the one between the good and the bad hunter… The manipulator speaks because he wants his project to succeed and he needs the support and commitment of those listening to him. And the sincere speaker? It’s exactly the same!

If you’re hesitating to use storytelling techniques for fear of manipulating, you are mainly taking the risk of: letting the manipulators make the difference by their ability to seduce and disguise the truth. We can be sincere and assume the fact that public speaking is meant to change things and most of all, people. It is legitimate to ask: What do I want to achieve by speaking? What do I want to change?

As we mentioned a few weeks ago (change your view, and the view of others will change), to regain control of your speech, it is essential to have the answer to the following 3 questions:

  • What do we want to change in what people think?
  • What do we want to change in how people feel?
  • What do we want to change in what people do?

These questions make it possible to put sincerity back into place by not hiding what you’re seeking to obtain. But there are many other techniques to capture attention, gain approval or increase the rate of recall…And the best way to use these techniques, without having the impression of manipulating, is to make use of them as if everyone knows about them.

This is why we share these tips with as many people as possible. There is no reason not to apply these techniques. Not to manipulate people but, on the contrary, to look after them. Today, the human brain is over-solicited in terms of information, contacts, communication…It becomes crucial to look after your audience when addressing them.

Speaking is therefore a question of demands we put on ourselves. The demands for a message to be optimized in order to be heard and adhered to and to generate the change we want to bring about.