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Future Inns charts the demise of British manners

17 August 2010 by
Future Inns charts the demise of British manners

British manners are fast disappearing, at least in business meetings, if a new survey on behalf of Future Inns ]( to be believed.

Future Inns found that 41% of British businesspeople think it is acceptable to regularly answer phone calls or respond to emails during meetings while half (50%) will go as far as actually getting up and leaving meetings to answer calls. Despite that, of the 41% who admit to regularly answering calls and emails during meetings, more than two-thirds (70%) actually consider it rude when others do the same.

The survey also determined that men were the ruder sex. Half of businessmen (49%) consider it acceptable to take calls during a business meeting and almost two-thirds (61%) will often leave their colleagues or clients waiting whilst leaving the room to attend to a call. A third of men (31%) admitted to regularly yawning in meetings and 35% think nothing of arriving late.

In contrast, just a third (33%) of women will answer calls and respond to emails during a business meeting and nearly a quarter (23%) would consider arriving late.

When questioned about their most memorable ‘meeting mishaps', the five most common mishaps revealed by the survey included:

Forgetting client names or repeatedly being called the wrong name in a business meeting

2. Falling off chairs (or accidentally breaking them)

3. Spilling drinks. Almost half (45%) of those surveyed had spilt drinks over themselves or others in a meeting - exploding Coke cans and coffee spillages topped the list

4. Falling asleep - in fact 28% of those surveyed said they had fallen asleep in a meeting

5. Arriving at meetings on the wrong day or even at the wrong venue

However, in some cases, the mishaps were more extreme, such as:

• Falling overboard during a sales pitch on a yacht (yet still winning the pitch)

• Walking headfirst into a glass door on leaving a meeting, causing serious concussion

• Allowing an LCD projector to overheat, causing a full scale evacuation of the hotel where the meeting was taking place

William Hanson, an etiquette expert, said: "It's simply shocking to see how many people think it acceptable to pick up a phone in the middle of a meeting or have a laptop open to answer emails."

The survey was undertaken in July 2010 among a "representative" sample of UK businesspeople, although Future Inns did not reveal how many people participated.

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By Neil Gerrard

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