Mulling It Over

mulling decision over
People need time and space as they are mulling over commitments

I am much more attracted to logic than emotion. However, years ago I realized that human beings are much more predictable when I saw them correctly.

I had to understand that people rationalize with their logic. It’s how we validate decisions. We tell ourselves a story that makes sense for us personally.

However, people largely make their decisions emotionally. They operate from within this comfort. When I see lengthy deliberation or a person mulling over a decision, I come to understand it is not about logic. It is about emotion.

Sure, they may claim it is logic, but one thing about people is that we are poor judges of our own motives or actions.

Mulling something over is not something bad. It is part of the decision process that helps us get over the hump of doing something different or committing. We are letting go of our status quo, in effect.

Sometimes, I write off silence or unreturned emails and voicemails as a person mulling. Of course, it could also be disorganization, cowardice or passive aggressive behavior. People do funny things from afar that they would not do in person. But many times it is the person deliberating over a decision.

But, by and large the mulling is that space that is delicate and the turning point. Like a dish that needs a good simmer before it’s served, people need that space to think and emotionally commit.

For the salesperson, it can be wrenching, but if you have done enough sales, you can see the pattern. You hurried to get all the information on the table (the logic) then you slow down (the emotion) as your prospective customer mulls over the decision.

The funny thing is that when a decision is made to move forward, nothing has changed. The information is usually all there.

No, the difference happened in the mind and heart. The simmer happened.

So, what can you do? I think time and space are important. Being available and responsive is also important. But driving and pushing is not good during this time. Gentle nurturing and seeking to be of service is valuable. But the mulling time largely rests with the customer.

How do you handle people while they are mulling things over?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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