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May 6, 2020

Give Someone Two Options

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When presenting something to someone, give them two options to choose from. Two days to grab a coffee, two time slots to grab a phone call, two offers.

The reason why this is important is because we can lose people if we give too many or too few options. First, if we want anyone to take the next step with this we need to tell them how to do that. So, at the very least one option is required. But, when it’s just one then it seems rigid. There’s no sense of autonomy or agency in the decision, and some people might perceive that as inequitable and they’re less likely to pursue the activity. However, when there are two options, people feel like they have a choice, that their schedule and bandwidth is being respected, and it sets a better foundation.

On the alternative side, having too many options presents its own challenges like decision fatigue. Have you ever been presented so many options that you don’t even know where to start, and you give up? This is a science a lot of restaurants are very cognizant of on their menus.

Of course there’s leeway here and there and case by case, but keep this in mind when trying to book a time with someone. It’s an empathetic practice to design your outreach in a way that it will be best received. I encourage you to present two options the next time you pitch something and see how it goes.

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