Best Business Bars

Closing a Deal at a Bar? This Research Can Help.

Closing a Deal at a Bar? This Research Can Help.
Image credit: Deborah Kolb | Getty Images
This story appears in the July 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

We close deals in bars to relax, get away from our routines and make toasting our next success a little easier. But if you are meeting at a bar, choose your location carefully. Research shows control is key and where you sit could make or break a deal. 

Avoid the windows.

Researchers find that when we’re warmer, we’re more likely to judge people as trustworthy and to be generous. Don’t order a round of hot mulled wine, but do sit far from drafty doorways or windows.

Pick a smooth table.

For a study in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, participants touched rough or smooth surfaces before judging social interactions. Those who’d touched rough ones viewed others as more difficult and adversarial. 

Find a soft seat (for them).

When researchers from Harvard, MIT and Yale asked people to haggle over the price of a car, participants who  were parked in a wooden chair held out for more money than those seated in cushioned chairs. Take the hard seat and put its rigidity in your favor. 

Put your phone away.

It takes the average brain just 200 milliseconds to determine a person’s emotional state based on facial expressions, according to research from the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. While waiting, make small talk with a server so you’re not caught slack-jawed on Candy Crush.

No slouching.

People with strong posture are more likely than their hunchbacked counterparts to feel good about themselves, according to an Ohio State University study. So sit up straight (and avoid a low table), and have the confidence to seal that deal.

Check out more on The Savvy Entrepreneur's Guide to Doing Business in a Bar

Edition: December 2016

Get the Magazine

Limited-Time Offer: 1 Year Print + Digital Edition and 2 Gifts only $9.99
Subscribe Now