A judicious laugh, a coy smile, a flick of the hair: cute, perhaps, but business-savvy too.
New research reveals that flirting can help women get ahead in negotiation.
Overt sexual advances are seen as a sign of confidence in women, but had no effect on the success of negotiating among men, details this month's Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin study.
UC Berkeley's Haas Business School and researchers from University College London carried out two tests, one of which looked at the success of two behavioural styles when it came to selling a car.
Women who were flattering, warm and who winked at salesmen were more likely to shave $93 from the price of a car valued at $1173, than those who were serious. Men were unable to secure a discount by flirting with saleswomen.
In addition, 100 participants were asked to detail how much they relied upon charm when negotiating. Women who said they flirted more were judged to be better negotiators by their partners, found the report.
Professor Laura Kray of the University of California, Berkeley said: "Women are uniquely confronted with a trade-off in terms of being perceived as strong versus warm. Using feminine charm in negotiation is a technique that combines both."
There is, however, a caveat to flirting styles. "The key is to flirt with your own natural personality in mind", said the lead researcher. "Be authentic. Have fun. That will translate into confidence, which is a strong predictor of negotiation performance."
The report claims former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, used feminine charm in bilateral talks, while Mad Men character Joan Holloway is perhaps an embodiment of the technique - especially when personal interests are involved.
"Feminine charm is a strategic behaviour aimed at making the person you are negotiating with feel good in order to get them to agree to your goals" said Kray.
- Sydney Morning Herald