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Cracking Wise

Negotiations going badly? Yuk it up.

This story appears in the April 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

During the Cuban missile crisis, as negotiators deadlocked and millions watched in terror, a member of the Russian negotiating team is said to have posed the following riddle: "What is the difference between capitalism and communism?" The answer: "In capitalism, man exploits man. In communism, it is the other way around!"

A sense of humor is a tremendous asset to any dealmaker. Oh, we may think business negotiation is just about numbers, schedules, contracts and the like, but it's really about psychology, rapport and trust. Here, humor is one of our best tools.

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