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Finding the sweet spot

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You can learn a lot about the power of persuasion from social-psychology research. Example: In one experiment, waiters delivered candy along with the restaurant bill to see how it affected tips.

Waiters delivered it in three ways: one piece of candy for each guest, two pieces of candy to each guest, and one piece of candy for each guest followed by walking away from the table and then turning around to give a second piece of candy to each guest.

Here are the results:

  • The guests who received one piece of candy left a 3.3% higher tip.
  • The guests who received two pieces of candy left a 14.1% higher tip.
  • And guests who received one piece, then a second piece, left a 23% higher tip.

Lesson: Unexpected and personalized gifts are powerful motivators.

— Adapted from Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin and Robert B. Cialdini, Free Press.

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