THE BLOG
01/12/2016 04:48 pm ET | Updated Jan 11, 2017

Why Protocol?

Interpersonal communication skills are central to the fabric of our society yet, timeless "people skills" are not being taught and quickly becoming a lost art. Next Generation leaders are massively disadvantaged. We have a responsibility to restore valuable people skills necessary to succeed in today's fast-paced, highly competitive global economy, and it is actually easier to stand apart today than ever before because so few people do!

This blog will showcase everyday business situations and illustrate how to leverage them as opportunities to demonstrate respect while earning respect, show you know "the difference" while making a difference at work and perhaps even for mankind. Our all-embracing goal is to inspire trust, forge relationships, advance professionally, and outclass the competition!

Although we all use multiple platforms to connect with others, at some point, we need to meet face-to- face, handshake-to-handshake, mano a mano and you want to be "well met." Effective people skills are central to successful leadership skills.

Trust
The world is all about relationships centering around trust... People hire, people choose to do business with, and people recommend other people they know like and trust. Because trust in the world has been severely compromised, our challenge, individually and collectively, is to restore trust because without it there is no relationship.

The core of our message revolves around hallmarks of respect, consideration and civilized behavior.

Business Protocol speaks to guidelines and invisible boundaries and reminds us that our actions and words are always under scrutiny at times and by persons least suspecting - and always making judgments ... especially these days, with heightened security... you never know whose watching or listening (!) when.

We may live in a more casual society, with casual dress codes and even casual dining however, there's no such thing as "casual manners." Manners speak to who you are. Protocol speaks to the way you conduct yourself and treat others which is noticed and judged. Awareness of correct codes of conduct and behavior and how to dress is key.

How we conduct ourselves from the first handshake and the first "hello" helps determine the depth and direction of a future relationship and personal rapport. Getting it right the first time cannot be over-stated. When we demonstrate more respect, listen more attentively, communicate more effectively we are more resilient and flexible in a world where others notice, a positive reflection on us.

While we may live in the moment we must not lose sight of the fact that in order to be most effective we need to be "fully present" in the moment with other people.

Nuances
It's not the little things that make/break relationships, friendships, marriages .. it's the little things. The little things get noticed and others particularly notice when they are missing. These little things have the power to make or break relationships because they (or their absence) can make others feel exceedingly special or slighted which is either a fabulous or poor reflection on you. We showcase nuances so subtle, others may not know precisely how or why you made them feel so valued, comfortable ... only that you did. In so doing, you set yourself apart, establish yourself as a leader and advance.

Critical interpersonal communication skills and mental flexibility are required as companies hire and keep only the best of class. Therefore, those chosen and remaining need to be confident knowing that everything said and done is completely within boundaries of acceptable codes of conduct and professional behavior.

A study at UCLA shows 55% of our decisions are made with our eyes and 38% are based on verbal cues. Therefore, how we look and dress, what we say and how we say it, and even what our body language conveys without uttering one word is integral to success. Major global corporations invest heavily in employee training and tell us they want confident, polished professionals. Training is crucial because no one is born knowing anything.

Being confident knowing how to approach others, shake hands, execute flawless business introductions (very different from a social introduction) properly exchange business cards, skillfully call on a client, expertly Work a Room, adroitly Dine - with anyone, - anywhere in the world and more, are examples of topics we will issue.

When employees are confident that everything said and done is within acceptable codes of conduct and correct professional behavior, they exhibit more prominent leadership skills, are more productive and have higher self-esteem which breeds not only a more cohesive work environment, but happier employees. An effective leader is able to motivate others by simply demonstrating small, respectful, nuanced gestures and using basic people skills. In so doing, others feel 'acknowledged' and valued, ... they are energized and positive. Moreover, this 'way to be' is infectious!

Remember, 'the world' a stage' and this is not the dress rehearsal. Shakespeare says, "You need to know the rules before you can play the game." The game is life and it's true, "you never get a second chance to make a great First Impression!"

Whether you are entering, re- entering or transitioning in the world of business or just want to get ahead, it is our greatest hope that this blog will issue a heightened sense of awareness of timeless hallmarks of respect and civility while providing specific ways to achieve leadership distinction.

Judith Bowman is president and founder of Judith Bowman Enterprises, an author, syndicated journalist, speaker, educator and renowned authority in the field of Professional Presence and business protocol. Books: "Don't Take the Last Donut: New Rules of Business Etiquette (Career Press) and "How to Stand Apart @ Work ... Transforming "Fine" to Fabulous!" Email: Judith@protocolconsultants.com.