Protocol is the modern currency of relationships; the value of protocol to build relationships

In essence, protocol has always been about optimising relationships by maximising personal attention and systemising logistics. Protocol enables the staging of the personal encounter. In a world where personal attention has become scarce and technology a facilitator for rules and procedures, protocol management provides us with a unique vision in which personal time is the greatest good we can give to someone. It is the modern currency of relationships.

This model by the sinologist Monica Bakker explains the value of protocol to build relationships; it has the rules on the left side, the symbols on the right side and the creation of trust and connection in the middle.

The rules guarantee predictability and therefore offer the opportunity to create community. The symbolic side of the protocol is the story, so all of us participating in the event are able to understand the broader context of why we are here. Only if these two are applied in the right way, protocol is a facilitator of trust, connection and confirmation of the good relationship.

The challenge, however, is to balance between modernity and tradition. If the rules are applied too strictly, the event will become too formal and uncomfortable. Too casual and lacking focus is also not good and the use of too few rules will result in chaos. Also, too many symbols will make people laugh and when there is no symbolism, we will not be able to recognise the story and/or are able to relate to why we are attending the event.

Want to know more about building strong reciprocal relationships?

High-level network meetings are preferably not a one-off initiative, but part of structural policy. A structured approach, or professional relationship management, ensures access to the right networks and a reciprocal relationship with the most valued stakeholders. The development of professional relationship management is a support that we provide with our sister organisation the Institute of Strategic Relationship Management. In the coming years, structuring a professional network will become increasingly important, but the development of professional relationship management is new and complex. ISRM supports the development of modern relationship management.

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