Saw the following via Avinash Kaushik on Google+. Too good not to share, and on so many levels.
It is worth highlighting that the power of the “default option” is a very real one.
Organ donation is a good example. Whether organ donation is an “opt-in” (i.e. the default option is not donating), far fewer people tend to go for it, as compared to when it’s an “opt-out” (i.e. the default option is donating).
I’m a big believer in this effect, and use it often when scheduling meetings, among other things.
For example, when scheduling meetings, I like to give options, but always ensure that one of them is the “default” or “preferred” option, even though there’s no reason for it to be (“We can meet either Thursday 2pm or 5pm, though I would prefer 2pm. “)
It helps expedite things: if the recipient can’t make it at 2pm or 5pm, it’s an easy choice, the recipient just chooses the alternative. If the recipient can make it for both, the recipient just chooses the default (2pm).
Without the default option, if the recipient can make it for both, it’s likely the recipient would wait till the last possible moment before responding, keeping options open in case another meeting crops up.