Deference: The Basis of Protocol – Corporate Event Planning

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Deference: The Basis of Protocol – Corporate Event Planning

As Presidents Day rolls around this year, my focus is on an upcoming event where we will be honored by the presence of two former United States Presidents. While the handlers are always certain to make sure that all is in order with security and other measures, it’s important for us to be in the know on protocol. Since we are responsible for the dinner service to one of these Presidents, I decided to conduct my own refresher course in Presidential protocol. In doing so, I am reminded of the true meaning and purpose of protocol and its role in corporate and special events planning.

Protocol is not just the stuff of Presidents and Royalty. The word protocol evokes a formality and rigidity of days gone by, but to suggest that there’s no place for it in our day to day lives is short-sighted. Rank and deference may sound un-American and titles are often seen as artificial, but when properly followed practiced protocol allows for guests to be treated with dignity and kindness. It is justice and respect, not an ego trip, when guests are introduced properly. A person shows deference when he holds back to allow for a former CEO to enter the dining room rather than rushing in to gain a seat. And when planning a formal dinner or event, these established protocols help to guide guests so there is no embarrassment or delay as guests try to figure out what to do. Letitia Baldridge, my go-to protocol guru, likens it to watching a beautiful ballet and suggests that if no one in your community understands “who goes first” in any aspect of daily life, there is chaos. At Wilsonwest, we prevent chaos by always considering protocol during the corporate events planning period and work it seamlessly into the tapestry of the event itself.

When I think of protocol in this light as a way to demonstrate respect and kindness, all artificial veneers melt away. I like the elegance of a well-oiled dining room with servers and guests knowing exactly what is expected. When properly executed, the corporate event services appear effortless and invisible with the focus on the guests and the conversation. Yes, corporate event planning is all about putting guests and the conversation first. We never veer far off that path here at Wilsonwest.

Lucky for us, we are partnering with one of the finest hotel chefs in the country and I know his team will rise to the occasion. I am looking forward to our work together and will report back on what the Pres leaves on his plate.

Cindy Wilson

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