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Take Care Framing Your Decision Question

Presidents and public alike seek change. An overdue re-balance.

Minds focused by a possible Brexit looms courtesy of an In/Out referendum in the UK. Guaranteed before 31 December 2017.

With elections in France that Spring, Germany that Autumn, momentum gathers for the British plebiscite to come sooner. In 2016 no less.

The question initially set as published in exploratory documentation;

“Do you think the UK should be a member of the European Union?”

Fairly innocuous. There appears to be a tradition that we must always have a straight yes/no choice. Which is a shame. In or Out has a certain ring to it I think.

The Electoral Commission though, suggest alternatives;

One: Should the UK remain a member of the European Union?
Two: Should the UK remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

They propose “remain” or “leave” (Option Two above) as answers.

Which does not strike me as useful in the slightest.

Surely the mere presence of only one of those options on the actual question itself seems an inbuilt bias.

2015’s Scotland #indyref produced similar consternation from the side who did not set the question.

It appears Option One above gained final selection.

There’s much to take from such framing.

Is there a binary way to phrase the choice in which you sit?

Do you value on-costs over day one price?

Should we be outsourcing this?

Is it time to change?

If an overall sum-up seems elusive, then how about for a key component of your proposal?

Should we rent rather than own outright?

Is off-the-shelf better than tailored bespoke?

Do you prefer blue to red?

I’ve been deliberately general with these half-dozen. Yet in the first trio the more global, umbrella, executive, the better. With the second threesome, magnifying a seemingly small, yet hyper-critical, element can be a real winner.

Convention suggests that if you own the Yes, you own the result. (Which reminds me of the winning Proposal Yes Page). Although conventions can fall.

Also, the idea is to sound as neutral as possible, whilst still giving rise to what should place you as the prime choice.

In any case, a simple slide, Proposal page, or jpeg passed around with simply your single question could not only crucially shape the debate your way, but also keep The Big Mo pushing you on.

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Category: quirky

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