Regional firms put accent on business

BUSINESS people in the East of England are among the most likely in the UK to drop their local accent when engaged in commercial discussions, according to a new survey.

BUSINESS people in the East of England are among the most likely in the UK to drop their local accent when engaged in commercial discussions, according to a new survey.

And the region also has the highest proportion of business people who claim either not to have a local accent or to have lost it during their careers.

The Accent Factor study, conducted by communications provider NTL Telewest Business, found that more than half (56%) of people in the East of England said they consistently altered their accent when conducting business compared with a national average of 48%.

Nearly half of those interviewed in the region believed they had no local accent, with 46% saying they had never had an accent or that it had faded.


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This finding, however, could be linked a level of confusion over what constitutes a regional accent in the East of England, with fewer than half (47%) describing their accent as being from the region while more than a third (36%) felt their accent was more closely aligned with that of London and the South East.

At local level, however, people in the Ipswich area had significantly greater confidence in their local accent than those from Norwich.

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On a scale of one to 10, Ipswich respondents rated their own accent 8.48 for friendliness, 7.07 for professionalism and 7.47 for trustworthiness. Norwich respondents voted lower on all counts, at 7.78, 6.59 and 7.00 respectively

The London and South East accent was seen by all regions of the UK as the best accent to have to get ahead in finance (54%) and was also seen as the best overall for sales and customer service (33%) across the country.

In contrast, Liverpool's accent was voted by other regions as the best for telling jokes in the workplace, although Liverpudliands rated their own accent as the least trustworthy for business in the UK.

Every region, with the exception of the East of England, felt that their own accent was the “warmest” and the best for conveying bad news.

Gerry Arthurs, head of business markets in the south east for NTL Telewest Business, said that East Anglia was at the forefront at the take up of modern communications.

“Regardless of how East Anglia views its accent one thing is clear - that the region is communicating. We've seen a massive uptake in home working and the deployment of new technologies in the area, which can only be good for the local economy,” he said.

The Accent Factor study, conducted during June, involved 1,300 business professionals across the UK.

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