Dealing with a three-year-old can be hard. Toddlers don’t like being told what to do. Parents often use options to get around this challenge.
‘Would you rather carry the fire-truck to your room or would you roll it there?’
Presented with options, the toddler now felt like she was in charge. She would proceed to roll the fire-truck to its rightful place.
Outside of raising children, I have seen a manager apply this principle to communicate difficult news to a client. We once needed to raise our prices to continue serving a client. Rather than simply tell the client to cough up more money, the manager presented them with options:
A. Reduce the scope of our service and sustain the existing price
B. Shut down the service with the loss being shared by both parties
C. Pay the higher price for sustaining the service
The client did end up paying the higher price, but did so willingly.
When forced to communicate a difficult decision, a set of well crafted options can serve as an effective tool in your persuasion toolkit.