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Etiquette in the Executive Protection Profession

In the world of executive protection, etiquette is paramount because agents represent not only themselves and the companies they work for, but also their clients.
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The clientele of the executive protection industry has evolved significantly over the past 10 years. We now see drastically more C-suite executives, fintech leaders, female protectees, and celebrities seeking protective services than we did 15 or 20 years ago. This shift in client demographics has brought a needed change to the skill set that executive protection agents must possess to serve them effectively. Today, one of the most crucial attributes for a security professional is the ability—and the willingness—to adapt to new industry demands. The role of executive protection is constantly evolving, due to the latest emerging threats, industry standards, and clients’ needs, requiring a range of skills that extend beyond traditional or “old school” security measures.

Today we will discuss the very important role of etiquette in executive protection operations. In simple words, etiquette is the set of rules and customs that guide one on how to behave politely and appropriately in social situations and in daily public interaction. It’s about knowing what to do and what to say to be respectful and considerate to others. Overall, it’s the innate ability to know “when and when not” in decision making, if you will. It’s about making the people around you feel comfortable and respected. Discernment and discretion are at the very foundation of this type of thought process.

To quote Emily Post, an American author renowned for her writings on etiquette, “Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor.” This perspective suggests that etiquette is more than just a code of social behavior; it’s a comprehensive guide for conducting oneself with respect and honor in all facets of life. To use an old cliché, “Manners maketh Man”.

In the world of executive protection, etiquette is paramount because agents represent not only themselves and the companies they work for, but also their clients. Their actions, words, and demeanor can directly reflect upon and impact their client’s image and reputation. And to take it one step further, consider etiquette as an additional proactive security measure, it can assist executive protection agents in blending into an environment seamlessly and maintaining a low profile, which in turn helps to avoid drawing unwanted attention to themselves or their clients.

A good understanding of etiquette, which includes professional settings, public or private events, and cultural and religious contexts, provides numerous benefits:

  • Projects a positive and professional image.
  • Reflects well on the client the agent represents.
  • Helps build trust and rapport with clients, the public, or other service providers.
  • Enables agents to blend in smoothly and avoid attracting attention.
  • Assists in conflict resolution.
  • Enhances situational awareness and contributes to effective threat assessment.
  • Plays a significant role in protective intelligence operations, where understanding social dynamics can contribute to better risk assessment and information gathering.
  • Increases the longevity of an agent’s tenure on a contract or in a security career.
  • Invaluable during international operations.

In this day and age, etiquette training should be viewed as essential for executive protection training programs. It’s not only a crucial skill but also one that provides a competitive edge to agents and the agencies they work for. Both seasoned professionals and newcomers in executive protection should pursue ongoing etiquette education as part of their dedication to excellence in their field.

Free Etiquette Training Sources

Have in mind that Free etiquette resources can sometimes be a bit scattered since formal etiquette training is often part of paid courses or programs. However, there are several websites and platforms that offer valuable information and tips on etiquette for no cost. Here’s a list where one might find useful etiquette advice:

  • Emily Post Institute – emilypost.com Offers articles and advice on different etiquette settings.
  • Dining Etiquette Guide – etiquettescholar.com Provides free resources on dining etiquette, you will find Business Etiquette and International Dinning Etiquette useful.
  • Gentleman’s Gazette – gentlemansgazette.com Although focused on men’s style, it offers comprehensive articles on traditional etiquette and manners.
  • MSG Corporate Etiquettes – managementstudyguide.com/corporate-etiquettes Provides free resources on corporate etiquette.
  • The English Manner – theenglishmanner.com One of the UK’s leading etiquette and protocol training institutes. You can find articles and advice on different etiquette settings.

“The availability of free content can change, so it’s a good idea to check these sites periodically for the most current offerings.

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