What does it mean to be in protocol?

PSOW Staff - Friday, April 22, 2016

Protocol is the fine art and science of facilitating events for people of different cultures to find common purpose, engage strategic and sensitive issues, and create relationships and memories for a lifetime.


Two almost universal truths exist about protocol officers:

First, few of us envisioned ourselves in the career we now enjoy. No one sat behind a “PROTOCOL PROFESSIONAL” booth at a high school or college career day and recruited us. Instead, because we were seen as responsible, respectful, detail-oriented, savvy people, many of us were simply handed the protocol portfolio with the expectation and the faith that we would perform this most necessary of functions.

Second, protocol officers rarely, if ever, describe their roles as routine. To recall "a day in the life of a protocol officer” would be an exercise in futility and frustration, because carbon copies simply do not exist.

Here are a few comments from a few of our graduates on what they love about protocol.

Why do you love protocol? "Protocol lends structure to events, thus providing guidance and easing the way for others – whether at formal or informal occasions." Sharyn Amoroso

Why do you love protocol? "It defines structure in a world of chaos. It provides guidelines, direction and preparedness to be successful. It eliminates the unknown. These are clichés, but when I have a question, there is a book that has the answer or a professional at the PSOW that I can call to get the answer. The questions we as protocol officers have are not unique questions – someone, somewhere has asked the same question. And there are professional protocol officers out there that have solved the same problems we face. It is awesome to be a part of a community that shares their experiences and knowledge with others to make us all successful." Laura Shepard

Why do you love protocol? "The Protocol field is so diverse and never boring. You may deal with things like visits & travel, social/official dining and activities, ceremonies, training & education, conferences, meetings and events. You work and build relations with other people/agencies. I love the adrenaline of orchestrating all the moving parts and, of course, the challenges that come with them. There are Protocol and other professional associations to join and you can take on-line/hands-on courses to improve your knowledge and build your peer network. With Protocol, you’re never alone as Protocol professionals are worldwide. I have made great friends and am sure to make more. “Protocol…I live & love it!” (Okay, sounds corny, but it’s true…)" Brian Lim


A protocol professional helps facilitate communication, cross-cultural respect and cooperation between individuals, co-workers, clients and cultures.

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