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    The business lunch is back, says new survey

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    New research of working Brits has revealed as many as 76 percent say they are really enjoying getting back out there to shake hands, kiss on both cheeks and wine and dine their clients.

    And according to the study, the majority (32 percent) insisted that treating your client to a sirloin steak, cooked medium rare with a glass of Malbec is the lunch that is most likely to end in winning a contract or deal.

    According to the data the perfect lunch should last an hour, with 48 percent saying a zoom call cannot replicate the experience of a face-to-face meeting, where you can eat, drink, and really connect.

    As many as 94 percent of those surveyed claim they are better communicators in face-to-face meetings, while 91 percent said they’re more likely to seal a deal in person than via a video or telephone call.

    A further 92 percent believe that not being able to meet for after work drinks or lunches with colleagues had a negative effect on the morale of their workplace.

    And 46 percent are even ready to get back to large conferences and seminars, with 35 percent saying not being able to network for the past year has impacted their business.

    However, 89 percent of those who are currently working from home said they still miss daily face-to-face contact with colleagues and clients.

    David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, who commissioned the study, said: “We’re pleased that there’s an appetite to return to face-to-face business interactions.”

    “Pre-pandemic, we saw business customers travelling every day to all corners of the country to enjoy the merits that come with face-to-face business meetings. This has been something our onboard colleagues have missed during the past 16 months, and we’re excited to be seeing the signs that this is restarting.

    “In our own business we understand the value of personal interactions, both with our customers and with fellow colleagues. It’s no surprise that there is pent up demand for business travellers to get back out and reap the benefits of meeting clients and colleagues in person once again.”

    Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of those who took part in the survey said they believe video calls will gradually become less popular as restrictions lift, with 42 percent agreeing they were “fun at the start but the novelty has worn off”.

    Nearly a quarter said video calls were hard to follow because everyone talks over each other, and 12 percent said they found them exhausting.

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien