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Talking heads

Picture me talking like this with friends:

"I'm trying to decide between alternative A and B. But that depends on my utility function. If I choose A, then there's a chance that C may occur with a high probability. But whether I choose A or B also depends on a trade-off of D and E. So I'm not sure if I should use decision trees or multi-attribute utility analysis. What do you think?"

Lately I've been reading a book for which I promised to write a review. It assumes the reader is familiar with terminology like utility functions, preferences, attributes, and other jargon associated with decision analysis. That alone makes reading it difficult.

It used to be that I'd rather pretend I understand than admit I didn't and ask for explanation. Nowadays, I'm not afraid to ask. Equally I expect my listeners to stop me and ask what I mean.

One of the NLP presuppositions says that "the meaning of your message is in the response." If I don't get feedback, it could only mean either my listeners didn't get it or my message wasn't relevant.

Instead of talking decision analysis, I would be better off talking the way most people do:

"I'm trying to decide whether I should do A or B. That depends on what I value. If I choose A, then it's likely that C may happen. I also need to consider how important D and E are."

25 September 2002 Wednesday

Decision analysis
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