How to manipulate successfully


Yes, this is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek blog today. It struck me a while back that all the things some modern coaches tell us to do can be used to fool people into thinking you’re someone you’re not.  Coaching on how to win friends and influence people. Wait, isn’t that what Dale Carnegie – grand master of manipulation – taught?

The “solid” handshake, looking people straight in the eye, knowing beforehand what your audience wants and then talking to that, whether you personally believe it or not.  Standing with feet slightly apart and hands by your sides. Smiling, projecting your voice, doing something to generate energy inside you so that you exude energy and vibrancy on the outside (Tony Robins runs for at least 5 minutes before any talk to do just that).

I’m not saying that Tony Robins is a manipulator, or anyone using these techniques. What I am saying is that if those actions aren’t natural to you, then you aren’t being genuine, and while they might work on some, they won’t work on everyone. Eventually, that chicken will come home to roost; every action costs something, and the cost of not being genuine may end up being an expensive one.

A better way is to be real. Some people won’t like it, and that’s OK. Those people aren’t your people anyway. The cost of being genuine is peace of mind, and feeling great achieving whatever it is you achieved doing so.

I once gave a talk at a university and about 10 seconds before I began, I had a severe dizzy episode. It was all I could do to stay upright, and my speech showed it. Needless to say, I was never asked back and I learnt that letting everyone know what was happening might have been a better idea. More genuine.  I’ve given a lot of speeches since then, and having already experienced the worst possible scenario gives me a sense of ease that helps me be genuine. I don’t think you need to experience what I did to get there.



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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at 



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