05/29/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT
OKAY, JUST HOW PERKY IS FLIRTATION expert Jill Spiegel? So perky that after she grinned and gabbed through a recent Today series on how to flirt, host Katie Couric remarked in awe: "You outperk me!" Equally impressed was anchor Matt Lauer. "Jill," he said, "could sell ice to Eskimos."
And so could you—or at least that's the premise behind Spiegel's new book, Flirting for Success (Warner). A Minneapolis motivational speaker, Spiegel, 30, claims that relationships with friends, parents and even coworkers can be enhanced by using behaviors often associated with flirting—like being charming and playful—but without the come-on. "I've taken the sexual aspects out and left in the warmth and fun," says Spiegel, the great-great-granddaughter of catalog magnate Joseph Spiegel. "It's about feeling good and making others feel good."
Teaching her unique definition of flirting through her company, Goal Getters, which she runs out of her tiny two-bedroom home, Spiegel conducts workshops—for which she commands up to $5,000 each—for such Fortune 500 companies as Honeywell and IBM. She instructs employees on how to exude confidence and put a softer spin on management skills by making jokes and eye contact and listening attentively to one another. Says Pam Mellskog, a Minneapolis Grain Exchange executive whose brokers Spiegel has trained: "Jill takes the fear out of flirting. She makes work relationships more productive because they're more enjoyable."
Born in Highland Park, Ill., to stockbroker Andy Spiegel and his wife, Sue, a homemaker, Spiegel says that while growing up "flirting came naturally to me, and people admired that." Sharpening those skills after graduating from the University of Michigan, she sold knives door-to-door before launching Goal Getters in 1990. Three years later, she wed TV ad representative Joe Brozic, now 27 and her business partner.
Currently developing a pilot for her own TV talk show, Spiegel admits, "I've wanted to be a star my whole life." Infectiously charming and energetic, she has plenty of boosters—including Brozic. "I'm content to be behind the scenes," he says. "It's hard work being a star."