The Paradox of Choice

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Have you heard of the paradox of choice? Have you watched the video?

If not, watch it here.

After watching the video, you must decide what it will mean in your life and business.  I say you have to figure out how to make every question you face a YES or NO question rather than a multiple choice question.

Let’s say you are going out to eat with a friend or loved one. You want Mexican, but don’t want to impose, so you ask the generic question of “Where do you want to eat?” Invariably, the answer is, ‘I don’t know, what do you want?’  That is because such an open ended question presents too many options to the other person.

hambugers vs tacos

A better question might be, do you want hamburgers or tacos? This narrows it down considerably, but still leaves another question.

Another more targeted question might be. “Do you wish to go to Hamburger Haven?”  Then the answer is a definite Yes/No question.  You will get either yes or no. If yes, you are done.  If the answer is “no” then you can ask, “Do you not want hamburgers?”  If the answer is no, then you can eliminate all hamburger restaurants. Then you respond, “How about tacos?” To which the answer is either yes or no. If the answer is yes, suggest a restaurant, if the answer is no, move on to Italian, or Chinese, or whatever, but eventually, by the process of elimination, you will arrive at the desired restaurant. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long, or the other person will now have a reference to go on, and the time to make a suggestion of their own.

This process will also work in the selection of your awards or apparel. Every question should be do you want this product? Yes/No.  Do you want a glass award? Yes/no. Do you want an acrylic award? Yes/no. Do you want medals? Yes/no. etc.

What does this all mean? We are binary creatures. Give me 12 options and I don’t act, because I can’t decide, give me one option, and I can always say yes or no.

Now, this may seem difficult at first glance, but if you cultivate the idea in your own mind that all questions should be yes/no questions, your decision will be easy.  People usually know what they want, they just have difficulty sorting it out because of the paradox of choice.

This is very important in a business such as ours, because we have thousands of solutions to every need. Choosing quickly is half the battle to getting the right product, in the right time frame.