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Briefing notes on Diplomatic Etiquette by Kali P. Pokhrel

Protocol and Etiquette
Presented by:
Yadav Khanal
Resource Person
Institute of Foreign Affairs
Protocol and Etiquette
Points to be touched upon may include, among other
 Appointments
 Receiving/seeing off guests (greetings)
 Holding meeting/exchange of communication
 Use of the car/flag
 Dress code
 Sitting postures
 Hosting/attending lunch/dinners
 Invitations
 Miscellaneous
Protocol and Etiquette
Officials have to clarify the objective of meeting while
seeking appointments. In the case of meeting with
diplomats or foreigners the channel of Foreign
Ministry or Diplomatic Mission should be used
through Formal request or telephone call.
Protocol and Etiquette
Namaskaar: In Nepal or elsewhere we may do Namaskaar first and
shake hand later or shake hand straight away
Bend your head while doing namaskar or shaking hands with guests
and seniors
Handshakes: hand shakes should be firm with men and less so with
ladies and do so only after they raise their hands
Hugging: In Arab/Muslim cultures
Kissing in most European Countries
In Turkey, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, women’s hands are kissed
while greeting (limited to conservative upper class), started in Eastern
Remember the old maxim: when in Rome do as the Romans do i.e.
follow the local way of doing things in a country
Protocol and Etiquette
Receiving/seeing off of counterpart
 Receive guest (s) generally at the entrance of your door,
may receive at the door of car/at the airport
 See off at the exit of your room, again, may accompany
the guest up to the car if he/she is of appropriate
counterpart. Sometimes, we may come up to the car
door and see off to give importance/special treatment
 Depending upon the importance and status of visiting
guests they may be received at the airports as well
Protocol and Etiquette
While Holding meeting
Start the meeting with warm welcome
Recall the earlier meetings if held before
Start and end with very positive note
Never say no while responding/reacting to a proposal/idea
expressed by the counterpart
May say, we will give thought to the matter, we may get
back on the matter in due course,
We may hold consultation with our head quarter and come
back with our appropriate response
During the meeting, only the leader to speak, others to
listen unless authorized by the leader
Protocol and Etiquette
Use of car/flag
 The flag car should be put next to the side of driver’s
 VIP should be seated in the side of the flag, next to the
side of driver’s seat behind
 There may be different practices in countries with Left
hand/Right hand drive
 While sharing the car the Senior/VIP/ Visiting guest
must be requested to take the seat first
Protocol and Etiquette
Dress Code
 White tie dinner (most formal with decoration,
popular in Britain
 Formal Nepali dress can be used by Nepali official
instead of white tie.
 Black tie dinner ( bow tie), with black suit: in formal
 Nepali dress can also be worn instead of black tie.
Protocol and Etiquette
• National dress: Daura suruwal, coat, topi;
• Lounge suit/informal: dark lounge suit, dark suits in
charcoal, dark grey or navy blue are best. Brown is
generally not worn.
• Smart Casual: with tie and coat (combination),
looking smart, generally prevalent in South Asia
• Casual: Generally, without tie or coat, free style (with
shirt and pant- no half pant and vest please !), tie and
coat may be used depending on the weather
Protocol and Etiquette
Shirts/ties combination
 Plain shirt (white and pastel shades)-striped or Check
tie or patterned tie
 Check/striped shirts-plain tie
 Good quality leather shoes/ generally laced shoes on
formal occasions,
 Black socks are generally preferred
 The lower button of a coat is usually left undone
 Buttons must be undone while seated
Protocol and Etiquette
Sitting postures
How to sit in front of VIPS/dignitaries
 Upright position/alert
 No crossed-legged in front of VIPs/dignitaries
 No leaning against the sofa
 Always keep the guests at the right side of host
Protocol and Etiquette
Hosting/attending lunch/dinners
Seating arrangements must be carefully arranged, Chief host
and chief guest must be seated across the table and
arrangements for other delegates should be made accordingly
on the basis of seniority
Sending out invitations well in advance with date, time, venue
and dress code clearly indicated at the card
Seeking and sending RSVPs
Find out nos. of Veg/non-veg guests
Ascertaining type of lunch/dinners (formal/sit-down/buffet)
Draw /fix appropriate menu depending on season/guests
Punctuality for the event-reach on time and do not get
embarrassed by being undue tardy
Protocol and Etiquette
 Light drinks before the dinner/lunch
 Pre-dinner drinks include: whiskey, gin, sherry (sweet/dry
wine from Spain), vermouth, vodka, red and white wine,
juice and other soft drinks
 Drinks at the formal (seated) dinners include as follows:
 Soup-dry sherry or Madeira
 Fish/chicken-white wine
 Red meat-red wine
 Dessert-port, sweet wine or champagne
 Cheese-port
Protocol and Etiquette
 Red wines, port, Madeira, and sherry is served in room
 Beaujolais, very dry sherry- sometimes chilled
 Champagne, white wine, rose wine- served cold
 After dinner drinks include: brandy, cognac,
armagnac, liqueurs (cointreau, drambuie, benedictine,
crème de menthe etc)
 Pre-lunch drinks: gin, beer, punch, campari, vodka,
wines etc
Protocol and Etiquette
 No of glasses/forks/knives/spoons are required
depending on the nature of the dinners/luncheon etc
 Similar number of plates are required for
dinners/luncheons depending on the type of
 Generally side plates are kept at the left hand side of
your table
 Forks/knives are to be used from outside -in
Protocol and Etiquette
Speech/remarks at banquet/dinners and luncheons
 Generally short speech/remarks are made at the
official banquets/dinners/luncheons
 Even in informal settings, short remarks are made, so
the main host/guest should be prepared to speak a
few words
 Generally speech/remarks are made just after the meal
is over and before pudding/dessert is served
 Initiate talks of common interest while on dining table
 Never ask about age, marital status or number of
children specially with ladies
Protocol and Etiquette
 Tie not (s)- could be single/double depending on the
size and length as well as the likes of the user
 Tie pin- may be used as per user’s wishes
 Putting handkerchief at the top pocket of coat
matching the tie
 Topi- Generally may not go with suit, but these days it
is quite often used.
 Put your all pens into the inside pocket of your coat
Protocol and Etiquette
 While wearing coat, the middle button is fastened while standing if it
is a three button coat, unbutton when sitting
The upper button is fastened if it is two button coat
Don’t slurp while taking tea/coffee
Use the forks with left hand and knife with right hand without clinking
it or making unpleasant sound
No picking nose/ear during the event or make any noise
Exchange gifts, if any, after the signing of the
minutes/agreement/MOUs etc. Gifts may be exchanged through
diplomatic missions or protocol officer later
Protocol and Etiquette
Do’s and don’ts
 Stand up whenever some one enters a room. Stand up
for introduction, greetings, leave taking
 Hold door open for the lady, hold the chair for her
when she sits or rises from table
 Help the lady in and out of her coat
 Be polite and always appreciative
 Give preference to you seniors
Protocol and Etiquette
 Don’t make noises with your cutlery or waive them when
 Avoiding coughing, scratching, belching or blowing your
 Never speak with your mouthful or ask a question to a
person sitting beside you just when the person has taken
food in the mouth. Do not chew with your mouth open
 Sip the wine without making any noise
 Do not gargle while drinking water
Protocol and Etiquette
 Do not spread your elbows while eating and also do
not put it on the table during dining
 Never tie the napkin around the neck
 Do not poke your teeth with a toothpick or fingernail
 Do not slurp your soup, gnaw at bones or lick your
 At buffet, do not pile food on your plate, you can
always go for second or third time
Protocol and Etiquette
The qualities that a diplomat should possess may be
summed up as follows:
D-Diligence, discretion
I-Intuition, intelligence
P-Perseverance, polish, punctuality
L- Language proficiency
O-Observation powers
A-Adaptability, acumen
T-Tenacity, tact
Thank You !
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