Ksearch has always strived to bring out the best from its consultants. As part of this initiative, Ksearch has conducted another one of its Knowledge Enrichment Programs, where a resource person would share their experience and knowledge on their area of expertise. This time around, the program was about Protocol and Etiquette. After all, consultants would do well to be equipped with such knowledge as they will inevitably be called on to attend formal occasions for networking reasons.
The speaker was Ambassador Alfredo Almendrala, a retired career ambassador who was the Head of the Philippine mission to Myanmar as well as Consul General in San Francisco, among his other assignments. He began the session by saying that the subject would be learned better if discussed through the lens of his experience. Thus he began by recollecting his formative years in their barrio in Laguna where he was raised in old world manners. The Ambassador, also talked about his years in the Air Force where he was first enlisted and got the chance to study at the same time, due to the help of a more senior enlisted personnel he reported to. Later on he was able to pass the Officer School of the Armed Forces and he received his commission. He then, recounted his sad experience when he had to put his foot down to enforce the rules of the Air Force on the enlisted people whom he grew close to.
He also said that he used to be a writer for a senior officer but decided to pursue a career outside of the military. He spoke of the time when he was invited to a formal lunch by a potential employer and he recalled his bewilderment at the number of utensils he saw and his travesty in choosing his beverage.
Afterwards, the Ambassador spoke about his work in the Department of Foreign Affairs. What struck me the most in the session was when he recollected an incident where he was being promoted to an Ambassador. Another Ambassador told him to have the recommendation papers submitted to Malacanang immediately for confirmation, but he refused to give the letter immediately as he thought that the move might be in bad taste. Ambassador Almendrala then said that he felt bad as he thought that he would overtake more qualified people if he was promoted. Such display of old world manners baffled Ambassador Almendrala’s counterpart but good manners never go out of style.
It was then that Ambassador Almendrala said that despite its many rules and complications, Protocol and Etiquette are simply about good manners, codified to accommodate and allow for better interaction between different parties.
The Ambassador then discussed formal events which enterprises like Ksearch are most likely to encounter such as breakfast meetings, lunch meetings and dinner meetings. He said that each has their own application and rules such as Breakfast meetings are usually done with the team for progress reports and setting targets while lunch and dinner meetings are usually employed when meeting or negotiating with a client.
It was really a fun experience to speak with such a paragon of good character, even more so as he has decades of experience working in a prestigious institution. True enough, in this world and age, it is only through good manners that will open doors that education cannot.