The 10 Protocol Essentials

PSOW Staff - Monday, April 28, 2014

Whether you have been a protocol professional for one day or over twenty years, there are some key essentials that, if applied, will keep you on the right track to success in your profession! PSOW's President, Pamela Eyring, has listed her top ten below:


1. Precedence Establishes the Foundation.
Precedence is the starting point for further decision making in relation to seating, speaking, gifting and the aspects of an event or ceremony.

2. Seating Factors.
Before establishing a seating plan one must review the following items: Purpose, Precedence of guests and participants, Language, Gender and role, Spouses, Themes of tables, Established protocol for an organization, Selected type of seating, and the Room (space).

3. Formula for Titles and Forms of Address.
Address by Rank | Identify by Office | Find the Traditional Form of Address |   Check the Preference of the Bearer.

4. Cultures Vary - Do Your Homework:
Do you bow, kiss or shake hands with a guest from another culture? Research will help eliminate cultural faux pas.

5. Reasons for Gifts.
Giving and receiving gifts are integral parts of doing business on the world stage. Gifting is an international custom. There are three basic reasons for presenting a gift. They are:
1.) Celebration
2.) Expressions used to establish, influence or build relationships
3.) A representation of appreciation for past deeds and hospitality.  

6. Flag Customs.
A nation’s flag is an important symbol of national character and has been a means of cultural and national identity. There are many other types of flags (state, municipal, business, personal pennants) that may be displayed. It is important to display them in precedence order. A national flag will be placed before a state or municipal flag, followed by a business flag, then a personal flag.

7. Key Events.
The key question when planning a ceremony is the answer to "Why?"  Why the ceremony? This will drive the who, the what, the where, and the when.

8. Anthem Customs.
When multiple anthems are played, the host nation’s anthem is played last.

9. Personal Diplomacy.
Being courteous with poise and polish will give you stronger ability to build better relationships – a key to being a successful Protocol Officer. First impressions are lasting.

10. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate.
One of the most important aspects of an event is the evaluation and after-action review. Evaluating an event is essential for historical records and improving future events.

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