Bracketing

We’re in the midst of March Madness. I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the country, but here in Indiana basketball is the dominant topic of conversation. I am not a sports fan, but there’s something great to be learned from March Madness—bracketing.

Bracketing is the way teams are moved from, for example, the Sweet 16 to Championship. Teams are paired one against another, with the winner moving on. Studies have shown that this is a great way to make a decision.

Bracketing is also a great way to get hosts to commit to a date. Asking either/or questions can help the host narrow down their choices to a final answer. Instead of looking at a calendar and trying to figure out where they will fit in, ask questions.

Would you like this month or next month? This month.

Would you like a weekend or a weeknight? Weeknight.

It looks like this month I have mostly Tuesdays or Wednesdays still available. Either of those work well for you? Tuesdays are good.

I have the 23rd or 30th open. Let’s go with the 30th.

I’ve found that this works in most situations to get an actual, firm date on the calendar. I let my host know that I’ll follow up within the next couple of days to make sure the date works well. Rarely does a host change his or her mind. Bracketing works.

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