The formal etiquette and code of behavior, precedence, and procedure for state and diplomatic ceremonies is vital. It should be considered by anyone planning an event.
Protocol practice is unquestionably associated with any communication process. Nevertheless, it is within the framework of Public Relations where protocol becomes a key part, given the need to adapt the message to specific ceremonial guidelines.
“Protocol is the art of creating a distraction free environment that permits the free and open exchange of information to resolve issues and build relationships in international business and global diplomacy.” (Frye, 2015)
The key part of this definition is “creating a distraction free environment”. International clients expect their rank to be respected, their religious values and practices to be honored, all logistics to be flawless and they expect any distracting issues to be resolved quickly. Distractions take a client’s focus off of business and results in the client feeling uncomfortable. This you want to avoid at all costs by doing your background check on invited guests. One of the most important elements of protocol is order of precedence. It is critical to international businesses and governments.
Wrong seating arrangement courtesy of Google
Order of speeches also falls under protocol. The chief guest at a function should speak last. That’s the essence of a keynote speech. Strategic thinking must be involved in selecting your guest speaker. We do not want to make other senior people feel offended. This does not in any way mean that senior people are petty and take offense easily. It is just a standard procedure to do things rights.
Speeches should be carefully decided on based on the theme of the event. Image courtesy of authenticentrepreneurspeaker.com
Titles of address should be right, starting from the invitation card or email to the material day. It is an embarrassment for an organization if an MC accidentally refers to someone using the wrong title. When planning an event, you should spell the name correctly and use the right titles on the invitation material. The master of ceremony should also have notes concerning the important persons in attendance and their hierarchies in terms of seniority.
Most organizations maintain the official ranking of any government and military personnel from the president to junior staff officials. Corporations dealing globally need to pay close attention to the order of precedence for their organization as well as the client’s. By doing so proper respect, introduction sequence and seating arrangements are always done correctly. Result: you will never inadvertently offend anyone.
Organizations need to have standard guidelines for protocol to be followed. This is a document that can be referred to by any team organizing an event. At Twinkle PR, we coach organizations on development of protocol documents and other Public Relations material.