It pays to eat. Literally.
New research published by Harvard Business Review reveals a link between lunch and profitable negotiations.
Babson professor Lakshmi Balachandra conducted two experiments among MBA students.
In one experiment, 132 students negotiated a complicated joint venture with two companies. Turns out, students who ate together increased profits by $6.7 million! This is in comparison to students who negotiated sans food. (And by eating we mean they ate at a restaurant or simply shared a meal brought into a business conference room.)
To determine if eating together and “not merely sharing a separate task that led to the better negotiated outcomes” swayed results, Balachandra had 45 MBA students negotiate the same task.
In lieu of food, they negotiated while completing a jigsaw puzzle that was complerely irrelevant to the business discussion. The result? She discovered negotiators who shared a common tasks didn’t have better negotiation outcomes than students who only negotiated the deal.