From Harry Houdini to David Copperfield, magicians have fascinated generations of audiences throughout time with their ability to create illusions, use sleight of hand and pull off many a trick to make mysterious and mind-boggling marvels. Here at The Protocol School of Washington, we also believe in magic, especially when it comes to protocol professionals who work behind the scenes to properly plan and orchestrate VIP visits, ceremonies, meetings and special events on local, regional and international stages. So, what makes protocol professionals so magical? Just follow along (and pay no attention to the man —or woman—behind the curtain)!
Mindreading: Protocol professionals are skilled on how to read emotional intelligence—the ability to perceive, understand and manage emotions of others. With this type of mindreading skill, protocol professionals can teach their colleagues how to successfully build respect and confidence when working with people of different cultures—a trait that has proven magical time and time again.
Making things disappear: With their expertise on what it takes to make a special event truly special, protocol professionals are also adept at making things disappear. From a flag being flown in the wrong direction to a misspelled dinner place card, protocol professionals know how to use their sleight of hand to make something that could be deemed potentially offensive vanish into thin air.
Showmanship: As magicians use everything from smoke and mirrors to theatrical lighting and music to put on a quality production, protocol officers are well-aware of what it takes to create a special event or formal function. By paying attention to such details as seating strategies, how to properly address VIPs and helping to ensure that everyone on the agenda is treated with respect, a protocol officer knows how to put on a truly magic and memorable show.
Pick a card, any card: Protocol professionals can work magic by knowing important cultural customs such as how to present a business card when meeting in person. In Japan, one offers a card with two hands, but in the United Arab Emirates, someone offer up a card with the right hand only. It sounds simple enough, but cross-cultural disrespect can be a serious offence in other countries, and a trained protocol officer works the magic to navigate acceptable rules of behavior.
Playing to your audience: Protocol officers and professionals must be well-versed in the customs, cultures governances and procedures of people from around the world. From knowing if one should bow, kiss or shake hands with a foreign leader to preparing their associates on current world affairs, protocol officers must know exactly how and when to behave in any given special event. Just like magicians know how to play to—and with—any given audience, protocol professionals can help create a special event that gets rave reviews.
To celebrate the creative magic of protocol officers around the world, The Protocol School of Washington is sponsoring “The Magic of Protocol” contest as part of its annual National Protocol Officers Week (March 24-30).
The contest invites participants to showcase the magic, showmanship and illusion that protocol officers use to stage successful special events. Participants can either showcase a past event they have planned or observed or be creative and interpret the magic theme as it relates to the protocol field.
Submissions can be in the form of videos; a visual presentation (i.e. PowerPoint); essay; white paper or social media posts. The winner of the contest will receive a complimentary tuition ($7,300 value) to any 2019 scheduled Protocol Officer Training offered by PSOW.