In the second of our two-part series, we'll address Chief of Protocol for the State of Georgia Abby Turano's best protocol resources and ideas for making a guest's visit a memorable experience.
- Remember to include tokens for speakers, as well as higher-level gifts for your principals/guests.
- Think about what fits the theme of the event, the tastes and interests of the principals, and the institution or location; it's ideal to have a gift reflect the spirit or values of the institution, or a cause that’s important to the host.
- Local artists and local food products are always appropriate gift items to consider.
- Don't forget that presentation is as important as the gift.
Developing an itinerary
Atlanta and Georgia Tech are assets to each other. Use the city to sell out-of-town guests on Georgia Tech. Some of Abby's go-to resources for what to do in Atlanta include:
- Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Atlanta Magazine
- Creative Loafing
- Official Georgia Tourism and Travel Website (provides ideas for retreats or day trip destinations)
The best way to create a "wow" experience is to ask questions about the visitors' interests, and get creative. Atlanta has much more to offer than what might initially come to mind.
- Brief your principals on cultural norms (e.g. the custom of exchanging business cards in Japan, the appropriate use of jokes, conversation pitfalls such as politics and religion, etc.)
- Use conversations about the venue and food as discussion stimulators.
- When communicating with guests who may not use English as their primary language, speak clearly and slowly, but do not yell.
- Roll with the punches if things don't go exactly as planned.
- Above all else, communication is key to creating a positive experience for your guests, audience, and your volunteers.
Some of Abby's favorite resources are listed below:
- Protocol: The Complete Handbook of Diplomatic, Official, and Social Usage by Mary Jane McCaffree
- Honor & Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address by Robert Hickey
- Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands by Terri Morrison