According to the Research Digest blog, if you want complete strangers to trust you, the best way to do so is to apologize for the bad weather or for a transportation delay.
That's the implication of a new study by researchers at Harvard Business School and Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
The most compelling evidence came from Alison Brooks and her colleagues' fourth and final study in which a male actor approached 65 strangers (30 women) at a train station on a rainy day to ask to borrow their mobile phone. Crucially, for half of them he preceded his request with the superfluous apology: "I'm sorry about the rain!" The other half of the time he just came straight out with his request: "Can I borrow your cell phone?" The superfluous apology made a big difference. Forty-seven per cent of strangers offered their phone when the actor apologised for the rain first, compared with just nine per cent when there was no apology.
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