If you have zero knowledge and need to make a decision, here’s some advice.

1. Take the food item nearest you.

Old fashioned etiquette books say that when you are offered a tray of hor dourves, it is most polite to take the one that is nearest to you.

Don’t waste their time judging each one and making a decision. Don’t look greedy by reaching waaaay over to the biggest one.

It isn’t just polite, it’s physically easier and prevents spills and other mishaps.

2. Pick the first doctor they suggest.

A friend of mine worked at a government-run agency that people would call for recommendations of doctors of a certain variety. It was a small community and everyone knew who the good and bad doctors were. However the law said the service had to pick 3 doctors at random and present all three options without bias.

The unspoken rule was to put the best doctor first on the list. They couldn’t legally say they were doing this, but they were.

She told me all agencies do this.

Note to self: Never believe a list is random.

(Obviously it would be better to research, but that’s often not an option, especially during a medial emergency.)

3. In business, often the opposite is true.

A salesperson often presents two bad choices followed by the choice they want you to pick. The third seems much better in comparison.

This probably works with your manager. Always present two bad choices followed by the option you want your manager to pick. After listening to two yucky choices the third will seem golden. Folklore at Apple was that Steve Jobs was a sucker for this trick.

As a manager, remember that your employees may be trying to do this to you. Be weary of decoys choices.

Sadly this can be a trap. You manager could pick one of the decoys. Now you can’t backpedal without losing face. Oops! Never present an option you wouldn’t want or can’t live with. They should all be workable solutions, just not your favorite. Freelancers know that the client will always pick the worst possible choice; therefore don’t even mention solutions you don’t want them to pick.

In conclusion…

Do I need to repeat that this is advice for when you have zero knowledge and need to make a decision? For god sakes, please do research when you can!