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Can sending a funny cartoon improve persuasiveness in negotiations?

Yes, according to Steve Martin, co-author of Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion:

In one study, businesspeople were asked to negotiate on a specific and complex contract via email. Half the group were paired up and simply asked to get down to business. The other half were paired up and one side was given a funny (and inoffensive) cartoon about negotiation. That person was instructed to send the cartoon to the person they were negotiating with prior to getting down to business.

The researchers believed that the funny cartoon would create increased trust between the negotiators and lead to higher gains for both. And they were right. The group that sent the cartoon generated not only higher levels of trust but also 15 per cent larger profits.

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Do you want to be more persuasive? Try reading Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion.