HR Strange But True!
June 14, 2007

Scottish women--and men--have been lining up for classes in which they learn how to use flirting to help them in their careers, the Scotsman reports. Make sure your harassment training is ready because the trend may cross the Atlantic.

The "Flirting for Success" sessions are run by entrepreneur Melanie Harris's company Training Tree.

Even members of the prestigious--and traditionally conservative--Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce took a half-day seminar last week.

Harris tells the Scotsman the classes teach employees how to flirt, which she defines as building rapport by being charming, witty, and naturally engaging." Classroom exercises include pretending to be a cat and dancing like Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake, the newspaper reports. No, we don't know what either exercise has to do with flirting, but we aren't experts in the ancient art.

The goal of the training, says Harris, is to teach employees to interact with business colleagues or customers "without fear, anxiety, or trepidation" in order to create "dynamic relationships."

A recent survey in the UK magazine NW (formerly New Woman ) found that 94 percent of the female respondents, with an average age of 28, admit they flirt in the office. And men at the top were the target of the flirting; 91 percent said they have flirted with someone at a higher job level, while only 9 percent have flirted with someone below their job level.

And according to the survey, e-mail has made flirting easier, with 63 percent saying they have flirted online.

"The findings show that the age-old rule of never mixing work with pleasure has been broken," said social commentator Roddy Martine. And Dr. Linda Perriton of the University of York , who studies women in the workplace, tells the Scotsman that she is hoping that the flirting classes are "a bit of fun" and not "a triumph of fluff over feminism."

In the U.S. , author and consultant Jill Spiegel ( has written the book Flirting for Success: A Creative, Effective Way to Reach Your Professional and Personal Goals. Also stressing flirting as a way to effectively build rapport, Spiegel says that proper flirting can help employees:

  • Make other instantly believe in them,
  • Sell themselves with integrity,
  • Master the science and power of complimenting,
  • Use humor as a negotiating tool, and
  • Exude a dynamic presence.

Sources: the Scotsman and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

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