The secret lies in the two C’s: confidence and compliment, says Dr Barton Goldsmith, author of 100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence (R165,

Pump yourself up
You’re nervous because you think she can see your faults. Guess what? She’ll see them only if you show them to her. So before you approach her, take a minute or two to boost your own confidence: remind yourself why you rock and then visualise those traits front and centre as you interact with her. Do you have an amazing sense of humour? Visualise her laughing and that talent may be more likely to break through. Dashing blue eyes? See her staring into them.

Ease into the conversation
Wait for an opportune time to approach her one-on-one (when her friend goes to the bathroom). You don’t want to interrupt or surprise her; that’ll put her on the defensive. As you initiate conversation, keep your shoulders back and hands at your sides – a warm, welcoming stance. Open with a polite “Excuse me…” instead of an intrusive “Hey” or “What’s up?”

Say something nice
A pick up artist might tell you that a back handed compliment will pique a woman’s interest because she’s already heard all the nice compliments. Don’t believe it: you just have to use the right compliment. Instead of commenting on a physical trait, like her eyes or hair (or worse), ask her about that funky piece of jewellery or cool T-shirt she’s wearing. This diverts the conversation from her, which she’ll appreciate, and her answer will provide jumping-off points for more topics.

Seal the deal
Because you approached her, it’s your responsibility to proffer your number first. (That whole “Are you on Facebook?” thing is lame.) And give her a reason for contacting her: “If you really want to catch that new Wes Anderson movie, why don’t I SMS you next weekend when it’s out?” You’ll reinforce the fact that you’re interested in her while keeping the talk cool, confident and casual.