Are you an aspiring protocol officer

Are you an aspiring protocol officer

Do you often interact with international governments, diplomatic/consular staff, trade missions or high level corporate executives?

Do you sometimes feel nervous about hosting events with high level officials in attendance?

Do you sometimes feel that there are gaps in your events coordination knowledge?

Protocol has been described as a secret language, that only few people understand. One thing is for sure, if it is done correctly it goes unnoticed. However if it is done incorrectly, everyone will know.

The principal duty of a protocol officer is to foster understanding and cooperation between individuals, corporations, organizations and foreign bodies in order for enduring business relationships to be built.

In order to remove the shroud of mystery we have decided to clearly identify and define the roles expected in the Protocol Officer line of work. The primary duties of a Protocol Officer are as follows:

Organisational Advice

A protocol officer advises staff of an organization on formalities they should observe when associating with foreign delegates/visitors. The officer, therefore, needs to know the rules of international etiquette, such as:

  • How to properly receive and address foreign visitors according to their ranks and positions
  • Appropriate gifts to provide to foreign visitors at appropriate times
  • A conclusive briefing of guest’s cultures and beliefs


Events Planning

A protocol officer organizes and coordinates events. This means sending invitations and making arrangements to receive visitors.  Other scope of their responsibilities is planning arrivals, attendance and seating arrangements for all interested parties.

They review ranks, positions and relationships of the foreign visitors when planning seating to avoid placements that cause discomfort, direspect or conflict during the ceremony. They also coordinate and brief any staff on their respective roles, including security and press.


Schedule for Foreign Visits

A protocol officer plans the timetable of his employer’s foreign visitors, which may include taking a tour of national landmarks, heritage sites and a visit to the national legislature.

They are responsible for creating a timetable for the foreign visitors. For example, depending on the objectives of the visit, the Protocol Officer ensures that the visitor knows where and when the outcomes are taking place. They arrange for transportation and security where necessary.


Staff Travel

A protocol officer acts as a communication contact point between the foreign destination and her employer’s organization; she handles coordination with travel agents as well as  facilitating the travel of staff members going to other countries on official business, which includes: securing travel arrangements, tickets and any other travel documents.

Ultimately the protocol officer commands the ship from the back.  They orchestrate every detail of the event and if anything goes wrong, it rests on the shoulders of the protocol officer.

But just remember to be like the swan, underneath the water the swan’s feet kick wildly but on top everything looks calm and serene.  Never give on that there may be problems.

If you found this article interesting, and feel like you may have what it takes to become a protocol officer or rather that you need to brush up on your skills, then perhaps you would like to attend a course that would accredit you as a certified Protocol Officer click here.

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