Protocol Chiefs Learn International Meetings Etiquette During Inaugural Summit

Last week, Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, Chief of Protocol of the United States, convened the first-ever Global Chiefs of Protocol Conference at the U.S. Department of State. The two-day summit — for government officials whose job it is to plan and arrange diplomatic etiquette, events, gifts and business trips — attracted more than 100 attendees representing 77 countries for education on a variety of topics, including a session on international meetings and conferences.

"I assure you cannot overstate the importance of face-to-face meetings," Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides said in his welcoming comments. "Looking someone in the eye, shaking their hand, taking their measure. These things really matter."

A major focus of the international meetings session was the importance of working with destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs).

"Consider destination marketing organizations as one of your tools in your diplomatic tool box," said Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Chief Operating Officer Victoria Isley, who spoke during the event. "These destination experts can help you in the earliest stages of site selection — from conference space, hotel and special event venues to connecting with local authorities and adding local flavor and culture to your events. You can make one call to an official DMO that will save you 20 phone calls later."

According to DMAI, Marshall called protocol chiefs "hosts of history" and encouraged them to use "every tool in the diplomatic tool box" to plan successful events.