Bearing in mind what has already been said about human territories and the use of square, rectangular and round tables, let us now look at the dynamics of taking a person to dinner where the objective is to obtain a favourable response to a proposition. Let us examine the factors that can build a positive atmosphere, discuss their origin and potential and examine the background of man's feeding behaviour.
Anthropologists tell us that man's origin was that of a tree-dweller who was strictly vegetarian, his diet consisting of roots, leaves, berries, fruit and the like. About a million years ago, he came out of the trees onto the plains to become a hunter of prey. Prior to his becoming a land dweller, man's eating habits were those of the monkeys -involving continual nibbling throughout the day. Each individual was entirely responsible for his own survival and for obtaining his own food. As a hunter, however, he needed the co-operation of other individuals to capture large prey, so large co-operative hunting groups were formed. Each group would leave at sunrise to hunt throughout the day and return at dusk with the day's spoils. These were then divided equally among the hunters, who would eat inside a communal cave.
At the entrance to the cave a fire was lit to ward off dangerous animals and to provide warmth. Each caveman sat with his back against the wall of the cave to avoid the possibility of being attacked from behind while he was engrossed in eating his meal. The only sounds that were heard were the gnashing and gnawing of teeth and the crackle of the fire. This ancient process of food sharing at dusk around an open fire was the beginning of a social event that modern man re-enacts in the form of barbecues, cookouts and dinner parties. Modern man also reacts and behaves at these events in much the same way as he did over a million years ago.
Now to our restaurant or dinner party. A positive decision in your favour is easier to obtain when your prospect is relaxed, free of tension and his or her defensive barriers have been lowered. To achieve this end, and keeping in mind what has already been said about our ancestors, a few simple rules need to be followed.
First, whether you are dining at your home or at a restaurant, have your prospect seated with his back to a solid wall or screen. Research shows that respiration, heart rate, brain wave frequencies and blood pressure rapidly increase when a person sits with his back to an open space, particularly where others are moving about. Tension is further increased if the person's back is towards an open door or a window at ground level. Next, the lights should be dimmed and muffled background music played. Many top restaurants have an open fireplace or facsimile near the entrance of the restaurant to recreate the fire that burned at the ancient cave feasts. It would be best to use a round table and to have your prospect's view of other people obscured by a screen or large green plant if you are to have a captive audience.
It is far easier to obtain a favourable decision under these circumstances than it will ever be in restaurants that have bright lighting, tables and chairs placed in open areas and the banging of plates, knives and forks. Top restaurants use these types of relaxation techniques to extract large amounts of money from their customer's wallets for ordinary food, and men have been using them for thousands of years to create a romantic atmosphere for the benefit of their women.
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