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Review Diplomatic protocol: Etiquette, statecraft and trust

The training of diplomats and the use of diplomatic language and protocol are specialist, but vital skills. Why? Because diplomats are representatives of their countries around the world and are the keys to successful negotiation of agreements and defusing political tensions at the highest levels. As Rosalie Rivett, author, teacher and Chief Executive of the Women in Diplomacy organisation in London says, ‘Protocol is the etiquette of diplomacy. It does so by following certain rules of behaviour. Protocol indicates an acceptable standard in diplomatic discourse, dialogue and negotiation.’ Language and the way it is used in diplomatic documents is an essential part of protocol. As Rivett explains in the introduction, diplomacy is ‘a highly nuanced role played out in language – the diplomatic lexicon – which is carefully chosen and in a manner which enhances the standing of their countries among host nations’. Language, therefore, is crucial to diplomatic success and the word protocol itself is derived from ancient Greek protokollon meaning ‘first glue’. Diplomatic Protocol is a manual aimed at young diplomats in training and in simple language explains how protocol works. The 13 chapters, each with a bullet point summary of key points at the end, examine the roles of diplomats in overseas missions. A considerable advantage of the book is that it contains many examples, some even as recent as 2017. For students of diplomatic language and culture the key chapters are those on Modern Diplomacy, Internet Diplomacy and Media Communications, and Crisis Management.

Barry Tomalin. ICC Board member and Joint Managing Editor of TLC. Founder and facilitator of the ICC-recognised Business Cultural Trainers Certificate (BCTC). Teaches at the Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance at Loughborough University London. Author of a number of books on international business culture, including World Business Cultures – a Handbook and Cross-Cultural Communication: Theory and Practice. Research interests cover international communication and cultures.


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