Cultural Etiquette and International Protocol

Protocolumn

About this page:
“Protocolumn” delivers insights on conducting business internationally while utilizing cross-cultural strategies. The columns are primarily written by author and site owner, Gloria Petersen. However, guest columnist are welcome. Submit your idea via our “Contact Page.”

Bon appétit! or not?

A discussion group recently posted that the phrase “Bon appétit” is no longer in vogue as a toast to begin a meal and, in fact, has not been for years. It seems that this rumor was started by a past edition of the New York Times. “Bon appétit” (literally, good appetite) is defined as: “A toast offered at the beginning of the meal to wish everyone a hearty appetite.” So why would one not want to
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The Flag: Do Not Make this Mistake!

A flag is a symbol of people—whether a nation, a city, or a corporation. A national flag is often displayed along with other flags at meetings, banquets, and other corporate (or international) events. It sends a strong message that you value and respect your guests (or visitors). Consequently, it is important to learn how
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The Truth Is: It’s Your Truth!

We all look at different situations differently. And our different viewpoints come from how each and every one of us thinks. How much the way we think differs is influenced by cultural predispositions, gender-related opinions, our particular family (or work) history, or our age and experience—these differences will vary greatly. The bottom line is that
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Embracing Cultural Differences For Greater Business Success

Guest Columnist: Doug Bruhnke, President/CEO, Growth Nation Do you know business people who don’t have a strong sensibility about cultural differences, and the impact they have on business dealings? If you do, they are probably the “I’ll-do-it-my-way ugly Americans” (or whatever their nationality) who are good fodder for stories of global business opportunities lost. Often these
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Put your personal belongings in “airplane mode.”

How often have you walked into an auditorium, church, or banquet hall looking for an empty chair, only to find one occupied by a personal item that implied, “This seat is saved.” In truth, it was not actually being saved; it was just being used as a makeshift desk. But you continued to wander the aisles looking for seating. This is always awkward! If you are seated in
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Customized Seminars

Has an unintentional gaffe interfered with a business opportunity? It happens to everyone. Knowing how to navigate potential minefields is your best professional edge and is a sought after quality in leaders. Learn the soft-skill qualities that will transform you into
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International Protocol and Etiquette Tips

by Horst Kniesel, Advisory Board Member and former First Vice President at JP Morgan Chase Bank As part of my job working for a prominent American bank, I was required to travel frequently to many countries in Western Europe, including England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Greece, Ireland, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. In fact,
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The Good News Is . . .

Imagine a media world that gave us the good news first, a media that made good news the priority and minimized the bad news. Good deeds happen in every society all over the world, but we rarely read or hear about them. What are people doing to help make their societies a better, safer, and kinder place? This should be front-page news! If good news was receiving the lion’s share of the print page or
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The Japanese Way of Tea

Popularly known as the Japanese tea ceremony, CHANOYU, the Way of Tea, is a spiritual discipline based on integrating the principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility into one’s everyday life through the simple act of making and sharing a bowl of tea. Harmony is the oneness of host and guest, of the interplay of the
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