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Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD)

 

Techniques > Resisting persuasion >  Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD)

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Method

When a change threatens your way of life, sow seeds of uncertainty of doubt by talking about reasons why the change may well fail or cause problems. Tell of similar experiences by yourself or other people and the trouble that happened.

Create fear by showing how basic needs are threatened, for example whispering how the 'improvements' at work are really a cover for cutting jobs.

Use the grapevine and other gossip engines to spread the word.

Be careful not to be seen as a vindictive naysayer. Show concern for people at all times. Be sympathetic with the ideas behind the change but critical of the poor methods that are doomed to failure.

Example

A warehouse is implementing a new RFID parcel tracking system, as much to cut down on losses and suspects thefts as anything. The warehouse foreman talks quietly about how the system will be used to blame innocent people and sack those unpopular with management. The trade union gets involved and eventually the system is postponed.

Discussion

Change of any kind is worrying and it does not take much to fan the flames of fear and uncertainty.

IBM sales people were famed for using FUD in the 1970s, talking about problems about competing products and hinting at new IBM products that would eclipse the competition. Microsoft in the 1980s and 1990s picked up the idea and would pre-announce what was often called 'vapour-ware', being products that proved virtually unsubstantial. 

See also

Certainty, Fear, Framing principle, Confidence principle

 

 

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