Many decisions a group must make are not as simple as yes/no or black/white. One technique that I use involves having each individual express their personal feelings in terms of the number between 1 and 30. The extremes are 30 = yes, for sure! and 1 = absolutely not! Descriptors for these extremes can be adjusted to reflect the issue or question at hand.
Statisticians and psychologists claim that 1 to 30 is the ideal range to get an accurate expression of feeling. One to ten is too tight a range, with too much difference between each single point to reflect an individual’s true opinion. One to 100 is too large and individuals tend to think back to school days where any mark below 50 was considered a failure, so the full 1 to 100 scale is not utilized by all. Like the case of Goldilocks, the 1 to 30 range is neither too big nor too small…but just right!
Once individuals have indicated their number on the ballots that I have provided, I create a histogram on a flipchart to give the group a great graphic depiction of the summary of their personal opinions. In a few minutes, this can provide an excellent starting point for a decision, without long and heated debate.