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Get Down


Techniques > Tipping > How to Get a Bigger Tip > Get Down

Description | Discussion | See also



Get down to their level when you are taking their order or listening to them for some other reason. Squat beside the table so you are eye-to-eye with them. If there is a spare chair, you can also sit down. Do this particularly with children.



When you stand next to the table, you are naturally higher than the people sitting there. Height is a metaphor for superiority that appears all over the place, from kings whose throne is on a raised dais to the fact that there are a disproportionate number of taller people in senior jobs.

So what happens when you tower over your customers is that they feel as if you are trying to make them inferior, so they fight back inside their heads by concluding you are not a nice person. This is seldom a conscious process but the effect is still real in the reduced chance of them giving you a good tip.

When you get down to their level (or, preferably, slightly below), there are other benefits. Looking them in they eye shows you as human and lets you connect more deeply with them. They can also see your face and you pleasant smile more easily. There is also the practical value of your ears pointing in the right direction and being below a lot of the noise, so you can hear them better.

Sitting down with them is a bit more familiar and not everyone may appreciate this. Getting down in general is best when the atmosphere is more relaxed. Leaning towards them also may help (as long as you do not inappropriately invade their body space) as it shows that you are being attentive.

Getting low with children is not only helpful in putting them at ease (which will improve how they behave), it also will endear you to their parents.

Sometimes, it can work for you to actually take advantage of the subtle authority that height gives. In particular if you can see submissive body language, then you may be dealing with a person with lower self-esteem who likes being at the bottom of the pile, in which case you can make more authoritative suggestions. If, on the other hand, you see dominant body language or power body language, then getting down low may well be your best strategy.

See also

Authority principle, Using Body Language


Lynn, M. and Mynier, K. (1993). Effect of Server Posture on Restaurant Tipping, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23, 8, 678-685

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