Over the summer the BBC came to film one of our etiquette classes at Bryngwyn Hall, ancestral home of Lady Linlithgow. The series aired a couple of weeks ago to much acclaim.
Monday, October 29th, 2012
Saturday, June 30th, 2012
I’ve now achieved a certain number of years. This allows me to walk with a stick and waggle it aggressively at people, to push to the front of any queue, and to have offered to me instantly any seat on public transport. If any of these things happened, however, I would be mortified. I have no intention of being so rude, nor do I want anyone to know from how I look that I qualify for a seat on general senility grounds.
But that does not mean I was not horrified to read of schoolchildren being stopped by their teachers from offering their seats on London’s underground to a disabled woman. Not only did these children between six and 10 years old not instantly jump to their feet when a clearly frail adult got on the train, but when she asked for a seat, they refused. She has multiple sclerosis and, while not in a wheelchair or obviously disabled, finds standing difficult.
This was a group from Orion Primary School in Colindale, north London, who were returning from a school trip on a Northern Line Tube train at about 4.30pm. Now there are a number of so-wrong things going on here. Firstly, young children not offering their seat to any adult.
Second, even if the children had to stay in their seats for some school rule reason there is no excuse for the teachers not jumping up to set an example ‘Children, I know that you have to stay in your seats as I am attempting to herd 35 children and if you are sitting down I am less likely to lose one of you, but I am showing how proper thoughtful manners works by offering my own seat because I am strong and well and young’
The school then compounded the error – ‘Ms Cooper did not reveal she was registered disabled at the time and insisted a teacher would have asked one of the older children to give up their seat if this had been known.’
And the local council weighed in with this mealy mouthed “In instances where a large number of young children, aged six to 10 years old, are travelling on the Tube, safety is the school’s primary priority.
“Since being notified of the situation the school and pupils have written to the resident apologising for the misunderstanding.” The school has deprived these children of a valuable lesson in life manners- that behaving properly and with thoughtful kindness will make you nicer and feel better about yourself and everyone else.The rule on giving up a seat is quite clear. The younger you are, the maler and the healthier, the quicker you stand.
For a seat every time… visit www.Pearlescence.co.uk
Friday, May 18th, 2012
We recently came to the end of our April 5-Day Finishing Touch Etiquette Course, and those who have seen the curriculum might be forgiven for wondering what place self defence has on an etiquette course. I am asked the question quite a lot, but the reason we do it is because girls often have to travel home late at night on their own, so we teach them self awareness and how to keep safe.
If we read the papers, almost every day there will be something written about the awful way people treat each other. A particularly worrying trend is the amount of female violence, often fuelled by drink. On our Finishing Touch course all our young ladies learn how to walk with confidence and purpose which helps to deter a possible antagonist, as well as ‘break-through and run’ moves if they ever have to defend themselves. It ties in with etiquette because young ladies never went out un-chaparoned. Public Image’s slogan is ‘Training for Life’ and anything that expands horizons and develops extra skills is good news, especially if one can have fun while learning. That’s why we include things like bridge, croquet and image building as well as the usual elements, social skills, cookery, flower arranging, dancing and deportment (yes – we do ask them to walk with books on their heads!)
Our experience at Public Image and The English Manner is much more positive. We have had people enrolling on our courses ranging in age from eleven to sixty-six and all of them want to know about social communication and good manners. Most of them want to be treated like Ladies rather than just ‘one of the lads’. But we can’t have it all ways – if we want to be treated like a lady, we have to behave like one!
Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Having good manners means treating other people with kindness, respect and consideration and manners need to be taught to children when they are very young. Like anything else, teaching manners takes time and energy so starting with the little things is crucial. Getting them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is central as is encouraging them to share toys, not push to the front of a queue and wait to be given an ice cream, for instance, rather than shouting ‘me first’! Children soon learn to say please if they are not given what they want until they have said it, and try not to let them snatch the drink you offer without saying ‘thank you’ or disappear from the table without asking to get down.
But as so much is learned by example, good role models are important and we as parents have to look at our own behaviour; if we never say please or thank you to our partners, why should children say it to us or to each other? We must also give children time to talk, but it is important not to let them shout each other down; they should learn to respect someone else’s point of view and give each other time to talk. A star chart can be a good way of rewarding children when they are well behaved and it helps to make manners fun.
Good social skills are really important if children are going to integrate well at school. Being considerate and having good manners means they will get on better with teachers and classmates alike. It will also give them a head start in later life because people buy from people, and a bit of good old fashioned charm and politeness can go a long way!
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Auto-responders for social email accounts are a tad pretentious, but for business accounts they are vital. If you are going to be away on holiday or on a business trip that will see you disconnected from your email then set up an auto-responder to let senders know that their email may not be seen for some time.
Depending on the type of job you have, and how many colleagues you work with, your auto-responder message will vary. Some will give details of a colleague who is dealing with all urgent matters in your absence, others will simply say that you are away and have limited access to your email. Wherever possible, try to give out contact details for urgent business.
If you are including a colleague’s details then check with them that they are happy to have these given out and that they are willing to cover for you in your absence.
Be specific in your message. Instead of writing ‘I am away until Tuesday’, write ‘I am away until Tuesday 24th August’.
Telling people where on holiday you have gone is not appropriate. I once saw an email auto-responder where the person boasted that they were on a 2-week holiday in Weston-super-Mare. Hardly something to boast about.
Do state when you will be returning to your email and thus when you will be able to go through the backlog of emails.
Remember to switch it off when you arrive back to avoid confusion and superfluous auto-responders being sent out. Leave a note on your keyboard to remind you for when you return.