What makes a Protocol Officer the Most Valuable Player on a team? The protocol officer’s ability to effectively “communicate” make them the Most Valuable Player on a team. In the process of planning for a VIP visit, I had to coordinate dinner plans with local Japanese restaurants and the Distinguished Visitor's (DV's) staff. Luckily I warned them of the unstable schedule of the tour and that having to cancel was a possibility. It’s imperative to ensure the restaurant managers are aware of the requirements, but more importantly, they understand the risk and potential of cancelations. Correctly communicating the cancelation possibilities is crucial in maintaining an excellent standing working relationship with the local restaurants. Moreover, it is also essential to communicate with the Distinguished Visitor's party regarding the atmosphere and dress code of the restaurant. In Japan, it is not uncommon to be required to remove your shoes before entering the table area. Letting your guests know this requirement could save embarrassment from wearing socks that were past their lifetime, or give them opportunities to wear more comfortable attire for the occasion.
If you had to define a protocol officer in one word, what would it be and why? “Invisible.” A protocol officer is fully involved in the advanced preparation and will be the person who knows the details for visits and events. Moreover, a protocol officer is the person who will make sure the event goes as scheduled. A successful protocol officer meets the intent of the visit, event, or engagement without being seen or heard.
What is your most valuable protocol tool or resource? Experience, and other protocol officers, are my most valuable resources. It is essential to study and follow protocol books and instructions. However, each event and visit is different, especially in an international area. I often rely on my 15 years of experience working as a protocol officer to come up with the best answer. My experience and experienced co-workers whom I'm working with are the most valuable tool or resources available.