Evan had been asked to give a presentation about several serious problems in the company to its board of directors. In planning the presentation, he decided to use the metaphor of “Rome is burning” to capture the sense of ongoing destruction. His main points amplified this idea. For instance, he quoted negative statements from several respected department heads and presented statistics that documented the company’s declining performance. The speech clearly conveyed a sense of doom and motivated the board to take corrective action. However, Evan’s failure to provide any sense of reassurance served to impede plans for change. Several board members had tuned out his message and had to be informed about the issues. Even the board members who had listened intently wanted more information without charging ahead, given the bleak picture Evan had painted. What could Evan have done to provide reassurance to board members? At what point does using a fear appeal go too far?
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