How to flirt

The first key to successful flirting is not an ability to show off and impress, but the knack of conveying that you like someone. If your 'target' knows that you find him or her interesting and attractive, he or she will be more inclined to like you.

Although this simple fact has been demonstrated in countless studies and experiments, you don't really need scientists to prove it. You already know that when you are told someone fancies you, or hear that someone has praised or admired you, your interest in that person automatically increases - even if it is someone you have never met!

Conveying that you like someone, and judging whether or not the attraction is mutual, clearly involves a combination of verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

When asked about flirting, most people - particularly men - focus on the verbal element: the 'chatting-up', the problems of knowing what to say, finding the right words, etc. In fact, the non-verbal element - body-language, tone of voice, etc. - is much more important, particularly in the initial stages of a flirtation.

When you first meet new people, their initial impression of you will be based 55% on your appearance and body-language, 38% on your style of speaking and only 7% on what you actually say.

Also, their non-verbal signals will tell you much more about their feelings towards you than the words they use. We show attitudes such as liking and disliking not by what we say but by the way we say it and the posture, gestures and expressions that accompany our speech.

The customary polite greeting "pleased to meet you", for example, can convey anything from 'I find you really attractive' to 'I am not the slightest bit interested in you', depending on the tone of voice, facial expression, position and posture of the speaker.

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