Bashir Pablo Sewalu the Next Media’s Senior Protocol Officer has noted that it is important for each organization and company to hire a professional protocol officer who in turn helps to boost the company’s image.
In his career, Sewalu has handled and served a number of dignitaries in the country, regional and abroad including; the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, opposition leaders in the country, Mufti Menk, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyata and his Vice President William Ruto among others.
Sewalu says that a protocol officer is someone employed to facilitate meetings, ensure proper etiquette for official engagements and streamline interactions with dignitaries and other important people.
“The job typically involves some elements of event planning, but focuses more on personnel issues. A protocol officer’s main job is to guide leaders, be elected officials or corporate executives, away from etiquette or cultural mistakes. This typically requires a lot of research and a great deal of tact,” Sewalu says
Sewalu notes that as a professional protocol officer he has rules he follows and his first priority is to get his guests to where they need to be and achieve their target.
What makes a good Protocol Officer? Sewalu Discusses
- Discretion is key
A protocol officer must be an expert at seeing and hearing everything while not talking about it. A protocol officer is like a bodyguard, the best are never noticed, they are the gel that puts at ease those in their care.
A protocol officer will witness many embarrassing moments but the best of them earn the trust of the protocol officer that no one else who was not at the scene will ever know of it. Being at the scene leads to another important rule, Pablo has learned as he practiced his trade.
The best protocol officer will minimise to remove opportunities for blander to happen. Having been around a number of dignitaries for years helps me to ensure the environment around them at a highly stressful time will be as comfortable as possible. Equally important, I would organise the environs of the hotel or high stakes event in such a way that my principals are able to function and do what they are supposed to do there.
The protocol officer must expect to mediate at some point in their career. Sometimes over a long span of time.
- Exit strategy master
Many aspiring protocol practitioners forget it is as important how a guest leaves a location as they arrived. These final touches are what actually determine the lasting impression a guest will have of an occasion or service they have received while in your care.