Persuasive presentation vs Manipulation: which one is better for Policy Analyst?

Persuasion means, the act of causing people to do or believe something. Persuasion is not a sin but one of the many ways we interact with people around us. Manipulation is defined as an action to change by artful or unfair means to serve one’s purpose, the fulfillment of self-interest is the goal here. Manipulation is the journey of achieving what you want no matter what. Persuasive presentation implies that you make people share your point of view through the use of your rhetorical skills without necessarily entailing scheming or deceit. “Manipulation” on the other hand, involves a certain degree of deception to promote the interests of the manipulator.

In the policy analysis world, policy analysts engage in a persuasive presentation to convince decision-makers to accept their recommendation based on facts and accuracy of the information they have provided. Policy analysts are public servants; they are not a politician. Policy analysts as a public servant should approach their work with some guiding public service values – democratic, professional, ethical and people values. Irrespective of any method or technique (visualization or non-visualization) adopted by policy analysts to present their facts and figures about any policy issue, these four important values should be followed.

Under the Democratic value, policy analyst helps the politicians to serve the public interest. The major responsibility of any policy analyst is to give honest and impartial advice and make all information relevant to a decision available to the politicians. Policy analysts are to provide necessary facts and figures about any public policy issue in an “advisory” role while the decision is left for the politician to make.Policy analysts are professionals. In maintaining that professionalism, policy analyst needs to be neutral. When the principle of neutrality is broken then policy analysts engage in manipulation. If a conflict should arise between the private interests and the official duties of a policy analyst, the conflict shall be resolved in favor of the public interest.

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