PROTOCOL AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Proper protocol for your Boss, whether in the office or at special events, is very important. At all times you must be concerned about the proper protocol FOR your Boss; and you must also be concerned about protocol ON BEHALF OF your Boss, i.e., courtesies that he wishes to bestow upon others. You are the Boss’ eyes and ears in these matters—the more the Boss trusts you to oversee these important issues, the more time he/she has to focus on the more important issues of leading the organization. To fully accomplish this part of your job, you will need detailed guidance from the Boss; but here are a few pointers to get you thinking in the right direction.
Every visitor to the Boss’ office should feel important, whether the CEO of a major corporation, a general officer or civilian equivalent, or an Airman Basic—and each has an appropriate level of protocol.
If the visitor is a member of the organization who has been summoned to see the Boss, or if the visitor requested and was granted permission to see the Boss, the process is simple. Greet the visitor and ask them to have a seat while you inform the Boss. Tell the Boss the person is here, remind the Boss of the person’s first name and the subject of the meeting, and escort the person to the office door. If the Boss requests you to stay, do so; otherwise, leave them alone.
If the visitor is a member of another organization but would not be considered a DV (the Boss should define who he considers DV visitors to be), follow the same process described above.
If the visitor is a DV, check on refreshments ahead of time with his/her Exec. You should plan ahead to serve coffee, favorite soft drink or any other refreshment the Boss may indicate. Then follow the same process as with any other visitor. Also, ask the Boss ahead of time if he/she desires to have anyone from his/her staff present. Frequently, DV meetings involve detailed discussions for which the Boss may need more staff support. If so, have the accompanying staff member(s) in place when the visitor arrives and introduce them before going in to see the Boss.
You will frequently place and receive calls for your Boss. Many times, you will be able to answer the question on incoming calls—get your Boss’ guidance on how much latitude and discretion to use. Here are some very basic rules to follow.
1. Politely ask the caller’s name and subject (Be courteous, professional, and handle calls appropriately! Remember you represent your Boss). For example:
2. If the call is appropriate to put through, give the person’s name and subject before putting your Boss on the phone. For example, “Sir, Mr. Todd is on the line and he wants to know if you are available to speak at their Chamber of Commerce meeting this Friday. I told him your schedule was booked, but we can probably shift some things around if you wish to accept.”
1. If the person being called is of equal to or lower rank to your Boss:
2. If the person being called is of higher rank or the Boss considers this person a higher ranking DV:
Prepare your Boss a 3X5 card with the name of the event, the purpose (if there is one), the location and time, where parking will be, menu, what other DVs will be there (first names and spouses first names), and if possible, with whom your Boss will be sitting.
Double check with the Master of Ceremonies (MC) or event organizer to ensure the proper spelling of the Boss’ name (and spouse, if appropriate). Ensure the individuals know precisely how to introduce the Boss (and spouse if applicable). If you are not going to be present, make sure the organizer, escort officer, or MC as appropriate know what the Boss and spouse drink.
You should arrange payment for all social and special events in advance. Don’t set your Boss up to be embarrassed when someone asks or assumes he/she owes money—this can catch your Boss by surprise. A good way to accomplish this is for the Boss to give you a unit fund or club card number to make such payments—no, the Boss does not get, nor does he/she expect a free ride. Periodically, ask the Boss to replenish this fund as it gets low—keep good records of expenditures. As a general rule, if your Boss is asked to speak at a function, the meal should be covered by whomever asked him/her to speak, nevertheless, check to ensure this is the case. Otherwise, your Boss pays his/her own way—but you work the details.
Retirement, promotion pin-on, and award and decoration ceremonies are important. They can be fun, but they can be disastrous without proper planning. They need to be done properly in order to render the appropriate honors to the recipient. It is strongly recommended that you sit down with the Boss and talk through the issues for each of these to get his/her perspective. If possible, ask the Boss for a sample script from which you can develop a checklist. Once you know your Boss’ method of accomplishing these ceremonies, put the process on automatic and you should have no problems—everything will happen at the right time, every time.
Give your Boss a copy of the script and sequence of events two days prior or as requested before the ceremony. That way, if he/she has any edits or special issues, you will have time to implement them.
In most cases, family members and friends of the recipient will attend such ceremonies. Prepare the Boss a biography on the recipient along with a 3X5 card with the names of attending family members and special friends. Arrange for a meeting place adjacent to the ceremony or in the Boss’ office where he/she can meet with the family and friends privately.
The operations tempo of your organization may cause the Boss to go TDY often. Trip books are very useful in helping your Boss travel, effectively conduct business while away, and return to home station. This book should be organized for the volume of information needed by the Boss.
The following are recommended sections of a Trip Book: (1) ITINERARY, COPY OF ORDERS, AIRLINE TICKETS, RENTAL CAR SHEET (2) UNIT STAFF DIRECTORY, TELEPHONE CONTACTS AT TDY LOCATION, REMOTE ACCESS TO HOME BASE SERVER, MAP(S) OF TDY AREA, DIRECTIONS TO TDY LOCATION, TDY AREA WEATHER SUMMARY (3) BOSS’ BRIEFING OR MATERIAL (4) SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION FOR AGENDA DISCUSSION: AFPD 10-9, AFI 10-901, ETC. (5) READ-AHEAD COPIES OF BRIEFS PASSED TO TDY LOCATION, AND (6) NOTE PAPER