New research finds that this family habit can help you negotiate more effectively

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By Kerri Anne Renzulli, CNBC

Need help closing a complicated business deal? Try sharing a meal.

But not just the meal — the actual plate. While many of us try to bond or broker trust with others over a shared meal, we may be limiting the gesture’s utility by ordering and being served our own individual dinners.

New research from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that our eating style has an influence on cooperation, and that “family-style” dining, in which diners divvy up portions from shared dishes, promotes better collaboration and faster-deal making.

Because this form of dining requires participants to coordinate their physical actions and consider the other person’s needs while collecting their own food, it ends up extending that same cooperation into business negotiations, making people behave less competitively toward each other than they do when eating the same food from separate plates.

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