Whenever you give advice to someone (a client, a member, a partner), you should not only ensure that it is good advice, but you should also make sure that the client will commit to it. In other words, that he or she really buys into the solution that you have proposed.

Research has shown that people are more engaged (and therefore happier) with a process when they believe they have some kind of control over it. And the best way to do this is to always propose options they can choose from.

There are many examples of this from very different professions: a fascinating study found that blood donors perceived significantly less discomfort when they were allowed to select the arm from which the blood would be drawn. Many banks have moved back from snail lines to individual lines letting customers select theirs so that in case they wait too long, they will blame themselves – rather than the bank – for choosing the “wrong” line. Creative agencies always propose at least two variations of an idea. And then let the client choose the one they prefer.

So next time you are advising someone, make sure that you provide more at least two options. Both have to be good (and you might even outline which one you prefer), but by letting the other person choose, you are much more likely to have him or her committed to it.


BCW Sports practice is the sport unit of global advisory firm Burson-Marsteller. We provide strategy and communication advice for sport clients around the world. For more information: bmsport.staging.wpengine.com