BPP Law School has announced a series of new initiatives and opportunities to improve law students’ confidence. It’s hoped that the initiatives will give aspiring lawyers the soft-skills required for the commercial legal workplace, like small talk.
With the help of specialist conversation trainer, Georgie Nightingall, BPP will run a new course specifically designed to teach students and future lawyers the practical conversation tools required to navigate the commercial world. This will include helping students engage in business small talk as well as providing them with the necessary skills to build professional relationships.
Moreover, in the wake of the rise of online learning and working stemming from COVID-19, the university will also offer online modules through their virtual learning environment centred on “how to talk confidently in an unfamiliar setting” and “how to have a difficult conversation.”
A speaker programme is also to be launched by Ravi Nayer, a barrister and partner at Brown Rudnick which will aim to help students present themselves more confidently especially towards those who have different backgrounds to their own. Nayer who is an alumnus of BPP wants to encourage young lawyers not to “shy away from who they are.”
This comes after research undertaken by various mediums and organisations over the past few years highlighted that almost half of university-age students prefer speaking to strangers online rather than face-to-face* and that future lawyers fear speaking in front of large groups and being judged for the way they express themselves. **
Ms. Nightingall, who is the founder of Trigger Conversations, a company which aims to teach people how to have more meaningful conversations, says that small talk can be “improved with practice” and it can act as a really “important way to create trust, connect with people and build relationships.”
Jonny Hurst, the head of outreach and student recruitment at BPP states that this series of initiatives focuses on “an important – but often overlooked – executive skill.” Mr Hurst goes on to explain that having the skills and confidence to engage in so-called business small talk is an important trainee skill and utilising such skills can carve out future partners.
Further research undertaken by the university highlighted that 86% of law students think that candidates from less privileged backgrounds struggle to fit into the profession and therefore, that more effort to ensure diversity is required. BPP argues that building these important executive skills through these initiatives will equip students to showcase their talent and realise their true potential.
*YouGov Survey in 2018 as sourced, **BPP University Research Survey
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