The method of protocol; protocol serves as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself

The method of protocol defines protocol as having a fundamentally consistent approach, yet also an adaptability to ensure success for different executions. The method of protocol can be used as a versatile tool, capable of navigating a wide array of different situations, both formal and informal, and within the public and private sectors.

‘In our profession it is all about balance. You need to know the rules of protocol, but you also need to understand the context and the goals. It is not my goal to break the rules of protocol, but I do try to bring the context and protocol together. Made to fit the occasion. It’s about the best of both worlds.’ – Nienke Majoor, Head of the Commemoration and Celebration Department of the National Committee for 4 and 5 May

Method of protocol

The method of protocol consists of the following three steps:

Step 1 – creating an understanding of:

  • The context (1a): what is the (networking) goal of the event or meeting? How did we handle this situation in the past? How do others handle this protocol?
  • The rank (precedence) of those attending (1b): senior officials and other valued stakeholders.

Step 2 – the application of protocol – developing your own tailor-made protocol:

  • The rules of protocol: systemising logistics and maximising personal attention.
  • The symbolic value of protocol: to recognise the story and understand the broader context of why they are there.

Step 3 – managing expectations; discussing the first version of the protocol to ensure we all agree.

Source: Protocol to Manage Relationships Today (Amsterdam University Press, 2020) 

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