Flirting is a basic instinct, part of human nature. This is not surprising: if we did not initiate contact and express interest in members of the opposite sex, we would not progress to reproduction, and the human species would become extinct. According to some evolutionary psychologists, flirting may even be the foundation of civilization as we know it. (www.sirc.org)
Flirting as you can see is a natural way of interacting for men and women. It is what we do, sometimes just for fun, other times with the intention to attract. So what is the harm in flirtingwhen we are networking? Go to any networking event and you will see flirting, both men and women. Is it a bad thing? That would depend upon what you are going to the networking events for. What are you trying to achieve? One of the biggest complaints that women have when working with and networking with men is that they are not taken seriously.
As a woman if I want men to take me and my business seriously, then I must first take myself and my business seriously. When women are flirting, men begin to see them in a different light than the professional light they want. While these women may indeed be asked for an appointment the complaint that we here from women is that the appointment was nothing more than a pretense for a date.
Over time other women will begin to exclude the flirt from their circle of information and connections. The constant flirting can often cost the flirt the credibility she seeks build when networking. Unfortunately, men who flirt are not held to the same level of accountability by women or men.
So, ladies, if you are flirting, it could be costing you connections, information, and being taken seriously by the very men you are flirting with. Remember that business networking should be treated as business, flirting at business functions should be avoided if you are looking to create high lever business relationships.