How many little choices can I give?

by on April 22, 2017

In the office today and received this compliment:

Thanks for covering my classes on Monday. The students really liked how you gave them lots of choices.

The class was US History. After welcoming and greeting each student at the door, I stood in the middle of the room and said I needed to ask the class a few questions. Not the front of the classroom, not behind the teacher’s desk. The middle. I then asked these questions, while I walked around and made direct eye-contact with as many students as I could:

Would the class prefer to leave the door open or closed? Is the room too cold or too hot? Would the class prefer to keep the lights on or off?

After each question, I paused, I looked around the room. I said these words:

I hear over here ______________. I hear some people saying ______________.

Took less than 3 minutes to setup. But sharing just a little bit of control is a must to effectively obtain cooperation of a group. Here’s the trick: only give choices where one could care less for the final outcome. Here’s the second trick: give lots and lots of little choices.

courtesy of Charles Fay at the Love and Logic Institute.