A new study conducted by American psychologists, Rosanna Guadagno and Robert Cialdini has established the immense power of face to face persuasion which works wonders with women. On the contrary, men are easy to persuade, and even an e-mail would do !
The study suggests that the conventional idea of women as more relationship-focused and men as more task-focused is not merely stereotyping.
For the study, Guadagno and Cialdini, who are both social psychologists, asked single-sex pairs of students to talk about the merits of introducing a new exams system both in an online chatroom and face to face.
Anonymous to the other test subjects, one member of each couple was asked to talk up the proposals.
The researchers found that the all-female pairs were more likely to be convinced when discussing their ideas in person, as they were able to form a bond through eye contact, facial expressions and gestures.
Conversely, male pairs responded in largely the same way to the proposals, not considering whether they were put to them online or in person.
The findings, according to the researchers, suggest that though the growth of electronic media may have made negotiations faster and more convenient in some cases, women still have a tendency to choose social interaction to be totally convinced.
The researchers then looked at whether the ability to convince was influenced if the students had met and discussed ideas before.
They found that if the women in their study had already established a relationship, they tended to consent more.
In contrast, the men who had met before then met again face to face displayed a characteristic competitiveness, meaning they sought to establish their competence and independence by rejecting their partner's ideas.
Ros Taylor, a chartered business psychologist, said the results went hand in hand with gender stereotyping that presents women as more relationship-focused and men as more task-focused.
"Women want to be sold things by somebody pleasant and we will be put off if that person does not fully engage," New Scientist quoted her, as saying.
"For men - although there are of course exceptions - it is more about the thing itself.
"They are more focused on functionality and the relationship with the seller is of little consequence to them - it can be a friend in a pub or a message online, it's what they're after that is most interesting," she added.