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April 25, 2011

PRSA Comments on Persuasive Power of Uncertainty in Harvard Business Review Letter to the Editor

PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, had a letter to the editor published in the May 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review. Her letter commented on the persuasive power of CEOs who express uncertainty in their communications and how that uncertainty can be used to build influence with others. The letter was in response to a March 2011 HBR research study on expert persuasion.

Interaction: "Experts Are More Persuasive When They're Less Certain" (Harvard Business Review, March 2011)
Published: May 2011

Will humility and CEOs' subtle use of an unexpected level of uncertainty in their communications lead to a new era of greater influence and authenticity for executives. Maybe. One of the key ingredients for increasing CEO influence is to tone down the standard confident rhetoric and replace it with more humble assessments of where a business stands and how it hopes to grow. Transparency and honesty go a long way in building trust.

Rosanna M. Fiske, chair and CEO,
Public Relations Society of America

Read the full letter to the editor here.
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