Also, I think skilled manipulation is more than about empathy (although I consider a fair share a prerequisite), and also certain type of skill in speaking. Some might be able to get by with less empathy and just more skillful speaking. Like I've heard of even psychopaths being good at manipulating people, and psychopaths aren't supposed to have any empathy at all. Yet they might have figured out what makes others tick even without any ability to truly empathize (perhaps by looking at people as like objects to be studied and manipulated even with that blindspot of being unable to truly understand what they feel).
[...] (although I consider a fair share [often] a prerequisite) [...]
You're true about psychopaths being good manipulators. They put their 'empathy' to a different use.
They're probably not well-rounded manipulators either like a psychopathic serial killer might only be good at manipulating certain types of women to follow him into his truck. :-D I suspect someone who can manipulate the widest range of people's desires and feelings in the most versatile well (like a psychologist) needs to be quite empathetic.
* most versatile way
Then ig it comes down to how one has to deal with people around them. Experience is the key there.
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