Business Eye: Think about it – we so often rush decisions

Alex Pratt
Alex Pratt

Greetings from the Party Island of Ibiza.

This could easily be renamed the ‘chill island’.

Between the occasional foam party, the time we spend here is mostly about eating well, drinking plenty, and chilling to the max in the shade.

It is the only sustained period when I find myself motivated to read a book from cover to cover and take time to think deeply; an underused skill we fail to deploy enough in our uber-connected fast lane lives.

I’ve been thinking about saying “yes” and about the weapons of influence in the informational crush that is modern life.

We are all moving so fast that it is a challenge to nudge us from our automatic responses, on which we rely ever more to guide our reactions.

The first pointer is perhaps obvious: we all like to have a reason to say ‘yes’ so the use of the word “because” is a good one to add when making your point.

There needs to be a compelling reason even to listen amongst the noise.

The many shortcuts we use to get to a decision also hold a powerful influence.

For example, the price of something is often a pretty reliable short cut to product quality or scarcity.

You do usually get what you pay for.

Of course this rule doesn’t always work but something that sustains a high price can normally be expected to be a cut above the crowd.

When pushed for time we bet these shortcut odds. If our life depends on it we pick the expensive barrister.

Another strong influence over our choices in the moment is the contrast principle.

Buy accessories after you’ve shelled out for the £500 suit and you’ll almost always spend more.

Why? Because, somehow £50 on a silk tie seems less frightening when you’ve already splashed out on the suit.

Another factor that plays loudly in the moment is that of reciprocation. If we feel we in some way owe the other party, we all find it harder to say “No”.

This is why fundraising Harri Krishnas offer you the ‘gift’ of a flower before asking you for a donation.

Finally, we look for social proof, the confidence that others like us think this a good idea, but then they are often looking to you for the same guidance.

So few of our decisions are properly thought through.

Think about it.