Close-talker waitress

Andrew O’Connell at HBR.com has collected research on how to get ahead. Here are two examples:

Waitresses can increase their tips 22.6% by standing 0.6 meters closer to patrons (0.15 meters away versus 0.75 meters), according to Celine Jacob and Nicolas Gueguen of the University of Southern Brittany in France. The researchers say close proximity is one of four nonverbal ways for waitresses to boost tips, the others being smiling broadly, touching customers briefly on the arm or shoulder, and squatting next to the table when introducing themselves.

When it comes to collaboration on stressful tasks, caffeine impairs men’s performance but boosts women’s, according to research led by Lindsay St. Claire of the University of Bristol in the UK. The researchers say their laboratory study raises the question of whether men “fight or flee” while women “tend and befriend” under stress, and whether caffeine somehow intensifies those behaviors. They also ask whether coffee at business meetings might have the effect of sabotaging collaboration. 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine daily.

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