Sometimes the gut feeling is not enough to make sound decisions. Whittling down to the best selection from various options requires deliberate analysis. A simple yet effective decision-making tool is a pros and cons list that argues both sides of a product, opportunity, or a specific decision. A correctly drafted list enables you to make logical decisions with expected favorable outcomes. Read on to learn how to efficaciously use a pros and cons list to maximize the utility of your choices.
What is a Pros and Cons List?
A pros and cons list is a decision-making tool that argues a particular argument’s positives (pros) and the negatives (cons). Usually, in a pros and cons list, the pros and cons are on side by side columns. You sum up the benefits on the pros side and the adverse implications on the cons side.
Weighing up each aspect of the list and the total on both sides enables you to make thoughtful decisions. If your pros outweigh the cons, then the risk is worth taking. The inverse also holds. Besides, it is important to objectively analyze the decision, listing pros and cons free of any cognitive bias.
What is a Pros and Cons List Template?
Pros and cons list template is a pre-designed template that you fill with data categorizing it into pros and cons. Many templates usually have a columnar structure where the pros and cons sections are adjacent on separate columns. A template user then completes the template, listing the particular issue and the comparable pros and cons in the assigned sections. You can create different pros and cons lists for each case or decision. Some template providers offer software-compatible templates that you can continuously amend as you encounter new perspectives.
Pros and Cons List Templates and Examples
Why Use a Pros and Cons List?
Pros and cons list gives valuable insights on a particular decision. The perspectives will drive you to make sound decisions or establish why you support a specific decision. Tabulating both pros and cons is essential when you have multiple viable options. Using extensive criteria, you can analyze each argument on a specific metric, listing the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Also, during the listing process, you may unearth information gaps and obtain the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions. New information creates new perspectives which will alter the decision. It is essential, especially if a group project, to incorporate everyone’s pros and cons. Pros and cons lists are precious in strategic analysis for businesses enacting evidence-backed decisions. You will compare the positives and negatives based on relevant data before making a conclusive decision.
Tip: In the analysis process, ensure you have no emotional or personal bias that will make a list subjective. You want an objective decision, not a subjective one.
Who Should Use a Pros and Cons List Template?
Pros and cons list templates are visual representations of the positives and negatives of a particular argument. They are helpful when you have multiple options to choose from and make a logical decision. You can use the list to compare two job opportunities, new geographical market analysis, and other strategic and personal decisions. Use the list to make ironclad arguments about why a particular choice is the best for a specific issue.
How to Create a Pros and Cons List Template
Creating a pros and cons list does not require any special skillet. Simply drawing a line on a blank paper and listing the pros and cons makes a good pros and cons list. However, enlisting the pros and cons requires careful consideration. Consider a wide range of metrics that you’ll use to gauge the decision. You can list the pros and the accompanying con or list all the pros first, then the cons, or vice versa.
Suppose a project involves various stakeholders, brainstorm, and write down the pros and cons. Different stakeholder perspectives usually highlight the areas you need to focus on that may largely influence the outcome. However, avoid noting down repetitive input. Remember to be specific when listing your pros and cons. Avoid general terms and compound sentences (like this) that combine more than one pro and con. List a particular pro. List a specific con.
How Do You Analyze the Pros and Cons?
Once you have the list down, proceed to analyze the argument. You can use different models to determine the logical choice. However, avoid the common method of comparing the total number of pros and cons. Some people compare pros and cons; whichever has the largest count forms the sole basis for the decision.
The downside to such an option is that one con might have a significant negative impact than all the pros benefits. Say you are comparing a newly launched product. On the pros side, you list increased market awareness and more sales, but you have legal compliance issues on the con side. In such a case, the pros trounce the cons, but the implications of the con outdo all the positives. You still have to use your gut feeling. The new perspectives will, however, illuminate the decision.
The Pros and Cons of a Pros and Cons List
Are pros and cons lists still effective? It is only fair to put the pros and cons against each other and determine whether you should use pros and cons list templates.
|Emotional Distance||Cognitive Bias|
|Identifies Critical Factors||Analytical Thinking|
You can minimize decision-making stress by using pros and cons lists. The visual decision-making tools display each aspect’s benefits and negative implications of a particular issue. Using the templates enables you to make objective decisions to better your personal life and the business’s cycle.