Analysis Paralysis: Options are Weak

June 15, 2015

One of my favorite quotes from an early season of Mad Men was Don Draper telling a young staffer, ‘Options are weak.’ I think about it every time I’m preparing to give a recommendation to a client. Do I offer them multiple choices to consider, or do I go with my gut and give one solid recommendation? Options are weak. Go with your gut.

Analysis Paralysis stems from behavioral economics. The theory, over simplified, is that when offered too many choices, you become overwhelmed and end up choosing none. So what can you do to mitigate analysis paralysis?

Do Your Research

Whatever the scenario, chances are, this isn’t the first time a company has been through this situation, or a seasoned team member hasn’t dealt with something similar. Utilize your resources to gather all the information and select the best strategy that fits your client.

If a question comes up in a meeting, it’s OK to tell them you’ll get back to them with a recommendation. It’s better to give yourself time than give bad advice.

Be Confident in Your Convictions

Now that you’ve decided on a recommendation, you have to deliver it to the client. “One thing you could try…” “Maybe you could….” Are two of my least favorite ways to start a sentence. It shows a lack of confidence and your client is not likely to take your idea or recommendation seriously.

Instead, be bold and willing to stand up for your ideas: “We would recommend…” “You should…”

Back It Up

You did all that research for a reason. If the client pushes back or second-guesses your recommendation, get ready to back it up.

The client hired us to be the PR experts. If you give too many options and ask the client to decide, you will never move anything forward. Have the confidence in your abilities and speak with conviction. Options are weak, but you don’t have to be.



Morgan Bradley

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