In a recent experiment, students negotiated over a deal via email. When they only exchanged their names and email addresses, they reached deals less than 40% of the time. When they shared information that was irrelevant to the negotiation, talking about their hobbies or hometowns, 60% reached agreement.
When you open up about something personal, you send a signal that you’re trustworthy, and your counterparts will be motivated to reciprocate, matching your disclosure with one of theirs.
That’s why it’s important to open any business discussion with something personal. Engage the prospect in something you can easily agree on; traffic, weather, children (even Chelsea) and you start building trust.