What's the Difference Between Persuasion and Influence—INFLUENCE SERIES #2

Have influence will persuade…

What's the difference between influence and persuasion? Are they related but different? Is influence just another word for persuasion and vice versa? Are they polar opposites? Here, Joe Friedman highlights the difference between influence and persuasion.


What’s the difference between influence and persuasion? They’re certainly related to each other: If I influence with people it makes me more persuasive; the more persuasive I am, it allows me to build influence. And yet we look at these things as separate and many people look at these things as almost diametrically opposed concepts.

Influence comes from a trait that you possess. It is something that you are. Persuasion happens because of an action that you take. It is something that you do. Influence is long term. Persuasion is short term. Someone at one of our client’s described influence happening because of your ability to inspire others. And persuasion happens because you have the power to require others.

So, what is the difference between the two?

When we are influenced, we find it has a long-term impact because we have made the choice of the path that we take. Frequently when we’re being persuaded, it is more short-term oriented because someone else has done the persuading.

And yet, what do we need to find to blend these two? We need to get good at them both. We need to find tools we can use to speed up the rate by which we have influence with others. We also need to find tools of persuasion that are longer lasting.