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My first introduction to the world of protocol was in the 1990s, and back in those days (I can’t believe I’m saying this), everything seemed to be a bit more formal and more glamorous. Formal occasions like “black tie” were far more the norm than the “cocktail” or “business” attire that we see nowadays……

When on duty at one of these special occasions with delegations around the world, no matter how dressed up I was (formally in order to blend in appropriately), my responsibilities would still likely require doing things much more suited for rumble and tumble wear and definitely not the silks and satins more appropriate for the event. I therefore quickly developed a routine before purchasing anything for work

I would give it a work out-in the dressing room. I tried on many an evening gown from the sales racks and rejected them all if they failed my tests:

  1. Could I run in it? (Think if having to chase after motorcades).
  2. Could I jump in it? (Think of how often we have to jump up from seated positions in the back)
  3. Could I reach my arms up high? (stacking boxes and suitcases in overhead shelves and cupboards)
  4. Could I bend down low?
  5. Could it be pulled out of a suitcase without looking horribly wrinkled? (preparation time disappears because of changes in schedules at the last moment)
  6. Could I get in and out of a car quickly and gracefully?

If I could not run, jump, reach and twist in it in the dressing room, it passed the test! If not, then sadly it would not make it into my protocol “uniform” but rather on the mannequin.

I assume many of you have often heard protocol officers compared to “swans” – no matter how stressful the occasion is, these officers have to remain calm, serene and graceful on the surface. So If you are interested in becoming one of these “swans” in your company, whether in the event or hospitality industry, an embassy staff, associations or in the governmental section, wear your protocol uniform today and register for our upcoming Protocol & Soft Diplomacy Workshop at