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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September, 2003, 00:40 GMT 01:40 UK
Scots accent 'is sound business'
Gordon Brown and Del Boy
North of the border topped London's East End
The majority of UK company directors would rather deal with someone who sounds like Gordon Brown than Del Boy Trotter, a study of accents has found.

Research into stereotypes discovered businessmen with an accent from Scotland or the Home Counties were viewed as more successful and hard-working than those with English regional accents.

Southerners and Scots were judged to have an advantage, while people with strong Liverpool, Birmingham or West Country accents could be losing out.

Almost half of company directors believed that speaking with a strong regional accent was a disadvantage in the business world.

The fact remains it is not what you say, but the way you say it
Khalid Aziz
Aziz Corporation
Scots fared well across the board - with 43% perceiving them likely to be generally successful - and topped the lists of parts of the UK whose businessmen came across as reliable or honest by the way that they speak.

But worst affected by the stereotypes were people with Liverpool accents.

Only 15% viewed people from the future European capital of culture as generally successful, while only 9% described them as hard-working and just 8% regarded them as honest.

Meanwhile, stereotypes about cockney accents also appeared to be alive and well in the boardroom.

Cockney concern

Although people from the London's East End were seen as hard-working, 16% admitted that they might think of someone with a cockney accent as less likely to be honest than someone from elsewhere.

The study was carried out by image consultants the Aziz Corporation, who spoke to directors from 100 companies with turnovers ranging from just over 5m to blue chip firms.

"The fact remains it is not what you say, but the way you say it," Khalid Aziz, chairman of the Aziz Corporation said.

The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"The survey found business people are more likely to trust a south-east England or Scottish accent"

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