If you're negotiating a business deal, it may not seem appropriate to be playful.

But it seems a little flirting can help women in the corporate world get ahead.

Women should be "playful" rather than "serious" when negotiating, says a team of researchers from the Haas School of Business at the University of California and the London School of Economics.

Being friendly makes them seem warm and approachable and striking, according to the study. And scoring a good deal means they continue to be seen as successful.


The researchers say that the approach works when a women flirts with a man, but not the other way round. Flirting is not about sexual advances but "social charm", to show off personal strengths.

The study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, split 100 men and women into pairs and asked them to rate each other's skills and manners in various tasks.

Women who were the most effective negotiators were rated highly for social charm by men - but men rated highly by women were not seen as similarly effective.

Professor Laura Kray, of Haas, said flirting "translates into confidence, which is a strong predictor of negotiation performance".