Influence and Persuasion: Why Pulling Is More Effective Than Pushing!

I posted a video of a tugboat recently on social media.

Influence and Persuasion are needed in leadership, conflict resolution, decision making, project management, or in selling.

When people think about the word “influence”, they usually think about it in terms of PUSHING: a person exerting power or pressure on another. While this is certainly true, there is also another side to influence that many people don’t realize exists: PULLING.

In this article, I will show you how to use the power of pulling in your communication to get more of what you want.

Pushing vs Pulling

When you are trying to persuade someone to take an action or believe something, you can either push or pull.  A push is when you use urge or force people to do (perform a task)  whilst a pull is when you motivate someone or a group to perform a task, to comply or to believe something.

When you push, you exert power or pressure on someone. However, when you push, people can go in different directions. But when you pull, you go the way, and show the way – in one direction towards you.

Does this remind you of the carrot and the stick?

Pulling is longer-lasting

In the world of persuasion, pushing is often used to get people to do something immediately, while pulling is used to change people’s minds over time.  

Pushing is easier, faster, and more convenient than pulling. That’s why it’s more common. It is used to get people to do something that they don’t want to do right away. Leaders can use the push type influence if they need people to comply to a decision; or when they need the team to pick up speed. This type of influence is only short-term and cannot be used regularly. It also requires some form of authority for it to be effective.

Pulling is more difficult and slower, but it is more effective in terms of lasting results. You can’t just tell someone to do something. They have to want to do it.

People usually prefer to be pulled by someone who they trust. They allow the leader to guide them because they want to follow; they are allowing the leader to influence them. Pulling is done by appealing to the emotions of the other person. This is done by making them feel that their interest in your topic is important.

Ways to pull people to follow

Here are some ways you can do it:

  1. Give them a reason why
  2. Offer an incentive
  3. Create a desire for that goal
  4. Help them visualize the better future with the change
  5. Offer a solution to their problem
  6. Inspire them

All these require you to know the other party; You need to understand their pain points. You must be invested in their success.

About the Author: Gina Phan is a consultant and trainer with Zinfinity Consulting. She currently conducts courses in workplace performance skills. Click here to know more about her.

What else does she write about?

#leadership #pushing #pulling #influence #persuasion

#trainergina #ginaphan #gp

Image credit: Manfred Antranias Zimmer from

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