An article in Forbes about the top ten body language mistakes women in business make caught my eye recently. One of the points that struck me most is that although using feminine ‘flirting’ such as leaning forward and smiling will gain you like ability, it could win you less business. In a UC Berkeley study female actors were asked to play the roles of sellers of a biotech business. Half were told to project a no-nonsense, business approach. Half were instructed to flirt (using the nonverbal behaviors of smiling, leaning forward suggestively, tossing their hair, etc.) but to do so subtly. The outcome was that the "buyers" offered the flirts (dubbed "likable losers") 20% less, on average, than what they offered the more straitlaced sellers. Other mistakes included having a weak hand shake, waiting your turn to speak, nodding too much and excessive smiling (you can see the full list here). Although we may feel it is rude we need to learn to interrupt and use up more physical space in meetings, both of which our senior male counterparts do. There are two qualities people look for in leaders; warmth and authority. In general women fall in to the first category showing empathy and caring and men fall into the second, showing power and status. Female executives, particularly those in male dominated fields, need to watch their body language and take some cues from their male counterparts if they want to be seen as powerful rather than likable.