Impression management is an unconscious or conscious process where people attempt to change the minds of others about a person, event or object by manipulating and controlling information in social interactions. Although it has been around for thousands of years, we are only now beginning to fully understand it, its meaning and implications. As such, there are many myths surrounding the concept of manipulation itself.
While it does occur unconsciously and often in a subtle manner, those who practice it generally do not know how it is done or what to look for. This makes it hard to prove that it exists. Some examples of the impact of social interaction on the human mind are:
The impure person. If a person is seen as impure by another person, they will be subjected to a variety of negative emotions including fear, anxiety, anger, disgust, jealousy, etc. It is important to note that these negative emotions can have long-term effects on the psyche. Thus, the first step in effective manipulation is to avoid being seen as an “impure person.” This can be accomplished by using a variety of techniques like:
The Manipulative Behavior. Some examples of the types of manipulative behavior include:
The use of subtle methods of manipulation can also be seen in the way people interact. An example of this would be the way one person would approach a conversation, while others would walk away, leaving the “leader” standing and facing the target audience.
Social interaction can cause the formation of a hierarchy within a community. It is important to acknowledge the role that communication plays in this process by being honest with yourself about your intentions. When you communicate with a person, always use a tone of respect. A good example of this is: “You make a good point, but I believe it may be best for us both if you leave the meeting,” or “That was a thought provoking point but I would prefer it if you left.”
Control your thoughts and actions to influence others. One way to control other people’s thoughts and actions is to convince them that what they think or do is right or wrong. For example, by telling the person “It is okay to disagree,” this person will then make an effort to persuade others to do the same.
Subtle manipulation is not always easy to spot. It requires the ability to change and adapt in order to succeed at manipulating others. When you see a situation in which someone is trying to manipulate you or make a point, you should consider your options and evaluate what is best for you and your situation.
When you are involved in any kind of social interaction, especially a social event, it is important to stay calm and collected. Do not become defensive, but remain composed and even-tempered. Do not yell, argue, and try to get your point across to those around you. By being assertive, you will show respect and integrity and will be more likely to influence others.