What one action would you like to see people demonstrate in support of National Business Etiquette Week?
Empathy. We are experiencing a season of dis-ease considering both COVID-19 and civil unrest. Let’s celebrate National Business Week by understanding how this all is affecting our favorite small businesses that have suffered inordinately from the events of the last few months. Support small businesses and minority-owned businesses that are all challenged to survive these extraordinary times. Consider paying for services in advance, buying gift certificates, or offering just a few words of support and encouragement.
How will you recognize/celebrate National Business Etiquette Week?
My team and I celebrate National Business Etiquette Week by hosting several mini-webinars on contemporary business etiquette issues on topics ranging from mask etiquette to video conferencing etiquette. The campaign will include memes and recognition in our newsletter.
How has your business changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
All of the planned live programs and consulting Protocol International had scheduled have been postponed until next year or canceled until further notice. We are pivoting to live online and on-demand recorded programs. Our one-on one-consulting has been both robust and exciting. I am grateful for the trust our clients have in us, and sensitive to the new challenges they are facing with diplomacy, cultural competency, social distance networking and even some of the fundamentals of business etiquette.
What changes has your business made to pivot to meet the needs of your clients?
We have significantly increased our outreach, including making outgoing phone calls, and sending texts, newsletters, notecards, and emails. We are checking in and checking on our clients and prospects to ensure they are safe and to understand the effects the virus -- and now the civil unrest -- has had on their business on their families and on them professionally, socially, and personally.
What advice can you offer other etiquette consultants whose jobs were primarily face-to-face, and now must conduct business virtually?
Spend this time intentionally reaching out to clients and prospects. Discover where their true pain is and how you can help whether it is listening, recommending, referring, or training. Perhaps you have a resolution, a contact, an empathetic ear, or a diplomatic solution that can help them solve a problem they are facing.
What tools or resources have been most helpful to you?
Technology such as Zoom, Google, FaceTime Audio, and new lighting equipment have all been important tools. Other resources include: training on my camera phone; my tripod; and my creative and strategic team. Also, my association and relationship with The Protocol School of Washington has been very helpful. I am grateful for the new Protocol Officer Training modules, which I have been taking online. It has been a great opportunity for recurring training and is a good way to add to your skills and your business.