26 April 2018

On 29th March, Years 5 and 6 gathered to listen to the second of the Boumphrey Lectures.

Upper Sixth student, Matthew, spoke on the subject of ‘First Impressions’, talking about the etiquette he had acquired throughout his time at the School.

From learning customs at formal dinners, appropriate topics of conversation, interview techniques, including how to shake hands, and discovering all about your own ‘Personal Brand’ from the Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Matthew has gathered essential information throughout his education on the importance of first impressions.

Matthew told the Year 5 and 6 pupils about the time he joined his father on a business trip to Singapore when he was younger and how, after an exhausting long-haul flight, they arrived at the hotel, only to find that they were unable to check in until they had changed their clothes.

Following changing into their suits, they were then given access to a completely different service and Matthew spoke of how this had made him consider the importance of first impressions, and how positive impressions can have a positive effect on you, but also led him to question whether it was right to judge people in this way. This experience had certainly ensured that Matthew’s father wouldn’t stay at the hotel again.

This led Matthew to conclude that there is a difference between having basic manners and simply conforming to arbitrary rules. He used the example of ensuring a firm handshake at a job interview – and considered whether following this criterion could result in employers hiring inferior candidates, rejecting those who may not shake hands in the ‘correct’ way.

Matthew ended his lecture with the reminder that it was important not to judge others and his audience listened with interest, asking a number of questions about his trip and enquiring further on his own experiences and thoughts on first impressions.

Teaching our pupils the importance of etiquette is something we feel strongly about here at the School, ensuring that all of our students have the knowledge, understanding and skillset for how to handle themselves with decorum for when they enter into their chosen career.

The Etiquette Lessons table layout, ahead of the Headmaster's Lunch

Forbes.com states there are “three examples of etiquette in action for business - integrity, dignity and humility. Every leader should possess and develop them daily. When a leader has these three foundational traits, they can become a magnet for all things good in their personal and business life.”

These three principles are knitted throughout the daily life here at Birkenhead School, meaning that our pupils can leave the School as independent and confident individuals, making good use of their leadership skills.

The Boumphrey Lecture Series looks to educate and inspire our students beyond the curriculum, encouraging them to think on a broader level, asking questions and expanding their mindsets.