Protocol Matters.

Protocol consists of the procedures, rules, processes, and standard practices that we are expected to follow.

Protocol is important in businesses such as engineering, architecture, contracting, medicine, law, and accounting. It applies to manufacturing processes. And military service.

Over time the “right way” is refined, documented, taught, and expected to be followed.

I left an engineering firm in 1974 and began working at a precast prestressed concrete company. Before business development work, I did project cost estimating, and then contract administration and project management.

One of my projects was to write two quality systems manuals. These outlined the processes we would follow to safely and consistently produce high-quality products.

Besides having an obligation to our customers to produce quality products, following the procedures would save us time and money by not having rejects and not falling behind on schedule. And we would maintain our certification.

The manual, which we called a QSM, outlined our protocol.

We are comfortable with considering protocol in the technical side of our career. It’s what we do.

Soft Skills

The soft skills side also matters.

Three soft skills areas that you and others in your organization probably need proficiency in are:

  • Customer Service
  • Presentation Skills
  • Business Manners

We need to interact with others, both inside and outside the office, in ways that will benefit rather than detract from the organization and us. This is where business etiquette and protocol play a role.


Many of us are skeptical about this topic at first.

We think that if we know our content, that’s all that matters.

Two quotes to consider are:

“It’s the little things that make the big things possible” – J.W. Marriott

“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

Having rules is not the point of business manners and protocol.

It’s not about which fork you use. It’s about courtesy and consideration.

It’s about relationships.

Of course, we need to master aptitude, attitude, and character. Then when we add how we present ourselves and treat others, we have a winning combination for our organization and ourselves.

Judging Us

Whether we like it or not, someone is judging us and deciding whether to give us a bigger role, or any role.

They could be an employer or a client. The result is the same. Either we pass, or we don’t.

We don’t want to find out that someone said of us “he knows his stuff, but frankly, he’s not ready for prime time.”

We’re talking about everyday business stuff. We are not talking about weddings or meeting the Queen. This is about how we present ourselves at the next meeting, business lunch, networking event, or client meeting. Or job interview.

We want to make a first-class professional impression.

Do you agree? Comment on The Break Out Session Facebook page.


  • Business manners matter
  • We ignore this at our own risk.
  • It’s about relationships.
  • We want to be ready for that bigger role.
  • It’s worth studying.

What about you? Are you confident about how you present yourself?

If your organization needs a program about Professional Presence, Basic Presentation Skills for Overcoming Stage Fright or Thinking on Your Feet, see my Speakers Page at and contact me at or 1-859-474-2806.