Is tasting the best way to make a choice?

I really enjoy sitting down with a flight of beverages and doing a tasting. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m tasting wine or beer or scotch. I love the activity of responding and balancing choices and noticing how what comes before or after changes my perception of a particular sip. But knowing what I know from both research and personal experience, I am cautious about generalizing my evaluation based on just a small sample.


Once we needed to buy new chairs for the boardroom at our office. We put a line of about ten different chairs out and people sat in each one in turn and voted on their favourites. We bought the favourites and discovered that sitting in a chair for just a few minutes is very different than sitting in the same chair for several hours. We tested, but we didn’t get a reliable result.

When I was in grade 1, I took some tests as a demo for teachers who had to learn to administer them. They asked me what I would like to do while the rest of the class took the tests later. I said I would like to colour. It didn’t take very long to discover that liking to colour and liking to colour for hours while my classmates were taking a test were very different things.

I find the same thing when testing  beer or wine. Sometimes I really enjoy a sip but a sip is all I want. More would not be better. And sometimes the sip that is less full of character is also the glass I would enjoy most on a patio or with friends over dinner.  The sip gives me information but I have to interpret the information before I can rely on it.

We offer lots of chances for people to put together tasters of our training at NLP Canada Training. We have podcasts and video and e-books and this blog. We offer free evenings and free one-days.  Everything we offer will provide a sip’s worth of value. But we do this knowing that there’s a risk. The risk is that people won’t stop to check in with how much more value is indicated by these sips. We know the sips are powerful, but the whole is at a different level of power.  It is more than the sum of all the ‘sips’ that it contains.


Tastings are fun and they provide real information about what you are tasting. But they are never the whole of the story. That requires knowing what you like, what has worked for you before,  and what context surrounds the taste you are enjoying.

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