86 per cent of small business owners find overly chatty phonecalls annoying

And, more worryingly, 86% of business owners find people who fail to get to the point irritating, according to a survey of more than 2,000 small business owners carried out by T-Mobile.

Cringey business jargon was a big pet peeve for those questioned too - with stock David-Brent-isms 'at the end of the day', 'blue sky thinking' and 'out of the box' topping the annoyance charts.

The moral is: get to the point when you're on the phone, and encourage those you talk with to do the same (albeit politely). You'll save yourself almost a full working week and you'll have less strained relations with your contacts.

The flip side of all this, of course, is that a friendly word here or there can really help business relationships. You just need to learn to detect when someone's in the mood or not. Try to remember details about your network's lives - remembering the new baby's name will count for a lot with a prospective client.

Where do you think the balance lies? Is spending time chatting worth the minutes out your day? Do long calls irk you out when you're frantically trying to get a project finished? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

(Also, this T-Mobile research is tied in with a competition to identify the UK's most straight talking small business owners - you could win £2,000. Check out www.t-mobile.co.uk/pitchyourbusiness for more info.)

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