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VP Education: Protocol & Etiquette

Part 1: Standing to Speak

Part of our leadership training is practicing the correct protocol and procedures during club
meetings. This teaches discipline and makes our meetings look more professional. Over time,
Toastmasters has developed specific ways of greeting the person being introduced, calling
members by the proper title, transitioning from the lectern, and other procedures. Lets take a
look at some specific examples and instruction.

Robert A. Richert, DTM, provided some great information for this series. Robert is a member of
the Century Toastmasters and Helmsmen Toastmasters clubs in Huntington Beach, CA. He can be
reached at

Whether or not to stand while speaking.

Many of us, including senior members, have developed bad habits such as playing with pens or
glasses and leaning on the table or chair while speaking from the seating area. This is ineffective
communication. When you are called to stand and speak, no matter how briefly, first put pens,
glasses, and other potentially distracting objects down! Next, move your seat back or move
behind it. Avoid leaning on the table or chair! Try to make sure that your back is not facing
anyone. Stand with erect posture and practice good eye contact, vocal variety, gestures, etc. In
other words, act as if you are giving a prepared speech. Take advantage of each opportunity to
practice your speaking and leadership skills.

Part 2: Greeting each other

How we greet each other during the club meeting.

It is very important that we learn how to pronounce each other's names accurately. During
introductions, state the person's first and last names audibly and clearly. If you are uncertain about
the name or pronunciation, ask politely.

Do not address a substitute officer as, "Madam Acting President", or Mr. Presiding Officer.
Always call an officer by his or her proper title of office: Madam Area Governor, Madam
President, Mr. Vice-President Education, Mr. Sergeant at Arms, etc. Learn these titles and use
them correctly.

Early in the meeting, the President should acknowledge all Toastmaster guest dignitaries in the
audience. Guest dignitaries are announced by order of hierarchy: the highest ranking officer is
announced first, and then the others are announced in descending order; for example, Madam
Division Governor, Mr. Area Governor, Mr. President, etc.

The most commonly used audience greeting is, "Fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests.
Just make sure that guests are present if you use this greeting!
The accepted gender greeting is, Madam or Mr. Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, etc. - not
Miss, 'Mizz', Monsieur, or, "Hey You"!

Part 3: Introductions

How to introduce various role holders.

We know that the assigned speakers should receive an appropriate introduction.

What about the other people on the program? Certainly, the Toastmaster, Table Topics Master
and General Evaluator deserve more than just a mere declaration of their names. These key
players deserve an introduction, although not as comprehensive as that for a program speaker.
Provide the audience with some background information and give them a warm welcome. Here is
an example:

"Fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests, it is my pleasure to introduce one of our club's
most active and enthusiastic members. She has been a member of our club for 5 years and is
currently serving as our Vice President of Membership. She is a Competent Communicator and
last year earned the Advanced Communicator Bronze Award. Please welcome our Toastmaster
for the evening, Susan Smith."

The Functionaries and other members who are serving in other roles may be introduced by title (if
a District or Club officer), name, and educational award (CC, DTM, etc.) Always be positive and
enthusiastic when introducing members.

Part 4: Applause

The importance of applause.

In order to create goodwill and offer encouragement to our members and guests, we applaud
quite frequently at our meetings. According to professional parliamentarians, applause is not in
order during the conduction of club business (Officer Reports, Minutes, etc.).

It is important that the Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, and General Evaluator lead the
applause immediately after introducing a member and also when a member has finished speaking.

Part 5: Going to and from the lectern

Going to and from the lectern.

One of our pet phrases in Toastmasters is, "Never leave the lectern unattended". Please follow
this good advice.

When you introduce or return control to someone from the lectern, wait until he or she arrives at
your location. Use this time to lead the applause.
Next, shake hands and then move back or to the side away from him or her, opening a space at
the lectern. If you must cross over, walk behind, not in front of him or her.

If you are walking to the lectern, promptly approach the lectern in a confident manner and shake
hands with the host, whether the host is the Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, General
Evaluator, or whoever is filling the current role of host.

If you must leave the lectern, always announce your intentions before you go. Dont just walk
away! If you must leave the lectern for more than a few seconds, declare a brief RECESS first.

When you have finished speaking, always return control to the person that introduced you. All
transitions from the lectern should be performed as smoothly as possible.

Part 6: More lectern manners

More lectern manners.

Robert A. Richert, DTM, provided some great information in the article titled Mind Your
Lectern Manners on page 22 of the February 2012 issue of Toastmaster magazine. Robert is a
member of the Century Toastmasters and Helmsmen Toastmasters clubs in Huntington Beach,
CA. He can be reached at

Do you grip the lectern throughout your talk like the Peanuts comic-strip character Linus clings
to his blanket?

Do you treat the lectern like poison oak walking around it but not touching it?

The lectern is not a crutch or black hole. Use it as a tool for speakers.

If you carry materials to the lectern, keep your right hand free so that you can comfortably shake
hands. If both hands are full, put the objects down on or near the lectern and then shake hands.

Set aside anything you are holding. Unless you intend to begin your speech by holding something,
free your hands before you begin to speak.

Step back a few inches from the lectern to avoid leaning on it. Next, spread your feet to shoulder
width so you wont rock back and forth.

Its never proper for a member to abruptly leave the lectern after speaking. Stay at the lectern
until the next person arrives the host. Shake hands with the host, pick up your materials, and
then relinquish the lectern.

If you must cross paths with the host who has just approached, step back and walk behind the
host. Then walk directly back to your seat.
Use the lectern properly to increase meeting efficiency, help foster a professional atmosphere, and
promote leadership training.

Part 7: Visual Aids

Handling visual aids.

How often have you seen a speaker fumble around, often with his back to the audience or away
from the lectern, setting up visual aids or props after his introduction? The audience is forced to
sit and twiddle their thumbs waiting and the entire affair looks awkward and unprofessional. This
can undermine the credibility of the entire speech.

Make sure that all your visual aids are set up and ready to go before you are introduced. If you
are not the first speaker on the program, inform the Toastmaster to call a recess just before he or
she introduces you. If the Toastmaster forgets, raise your hand and politely interrupt to remind
him or her.

Part 8: All Those LETTERS

How to handle Toastmasters acronyms.

We use many letter designations in Toastmasters such as CC, CL, ACG, DTM, Area O-5, etc., as
shorthand. We use them so often that we forget that guests and new members don't know what
they mean.

Early in the meeting, the President, Toastmaster, or other role holder should explain these
designations as they use them. Also, they should take the time to explain the requirements for
earning these awards.

Here are some acronyms.

CC Competent Communicator
CL Competent Leader
ACB Advanced Communicator Bronze
ACS Advanced Communicator Silver
ACG Advanced Communicator Gold
ALB Advanced Leader Bronze
ALS Advanced Leader Silver
DTM Distinguished Toastmaster

HPLP High Performance Leadership Project

AS Accredited Speaker

TLI Toastmasters Leadership Institute

Distinguished Club A club that meets five of the ten DCP goals, plus a
membership goal.

Select Distinguished Club A club that meets seven of the ten DCP goals, plus

President's Distinguished Club A club that meets nine of the ten DCP goals, plus
membership. This is the highest official designation for a
successful Toastmasters Club.
There are many, many more acronyms on our club website. Check out the Lexicon page.

Part 9: Toastmasters terminology

Various types of Toastmasters terminology.

Like other organizations, Toastmasters has developed a language of its own. Some of our
commonly used words or phrases are derived from proper English (lectern), while others (Mr. or
Madam Toastmaster) have become standard vocabulary over time.

Members often misunderstand and misuse these terms, so clarification is in order. In the left
column below is a list of some common misuses of terms or phrases; in the right column is the
correct use.

Incorrect Correct
Podium (a raised platform) Lectern
"Welcome our acting president" "Our president is absent tonight; please
welcome our VP of Education" Always
introduce a club officer by his or her proper
title of office.
Sergeant of Arms Sergeant at Arms
"I will now turn the meeting over" "I will now (re)turn control of the meeting"
"We will now adjourn for a break" "We will now recess for a break". Adjournment
means that the meeting is finished.
"I would like to" or, Just do or say it - or, "At this time I will"
"Without further ado" "It is now my pleasure" or equivalent
"Don needs no introduction" Then why are you introducing him? Avoid
hackneyed clichs like this.
Ms. Toastmistress (or person) Madam Toastmaster
Mr. Table Topics Mr. Table Topics Master
"Thank You" (after a speech) Omit thanking us. Instead, when finished
acknowledge the Toastmaster. (This one is
controversial. Well talk about this at a later
"I'm sorry" or "I apologize" Try not to appear apologetic. If you make a
mistake, just move on. If you are unsure about
a procedure, ask for help. (Well talk about this
at a later date.)

Part 10: Clichs - Openings

How clichs are used at the beginning of speeches.

Craig Harrison, DTM, of Berkeley, California, a member of several Toastmasters clubs. He is a

professional speaker and founder of Expressions of Excellence. Contact him via

Here is some of what he has to say about clichs.

Avoid Clichs Like the Plague. Your readers and listeners will appreciate it.

Opening Salvos

Perhaps the most common clich heard in Toastmasters is the speech opener Mr./Madam
Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests.

Yet have you ever noticed that none of the contestants in the World Championship of Public
Speaking starts his or her speech this way? Its not that they dont use this line, and they clearly
mean no disrespect to the audience and judges, but they avoid muddling up their speech opening
with a sentence so common and bland. Why would they?

While some would argue the merits of beginning each speech with the customary Mr./Madam
Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests, I believe strongly that each speech
should begin not with a clich (especially one that only applies to Toastmasters audiences) but
with a unique statement, exclamation or question specific to that speech. You can easily follow
up, after your speechs first sentence, or its first paragraph, with some sort of greeting. Dont miss
the opportunity to open your speech powerfully with a tailor-made statement.

Part 11: Clichs - Be Creative

How we can be creative with clichs.

Lets face it: Clichs are common. In place of clichs, be creative in your writing and speaking. Be
inventive. Eschew the mundane.
The judicious use of clichs, those stereotypical expressions we hear so often, can be effective,
both in speech and in print. When used appropriately, clichs are a form of shorthand that can get
listeners to nod knowingly while furthering the intended course of action. Yet excessive reliance
on clichs can be fatal to speeches and stories, and should be avoided whenever possible.

A clich, by definition, is a trite, commonplace expression a sentence or phrase usually

conveying a popular or common thought or idea. But the very fact that it has become a clich,
through popular use and overuse suggests that the phrase has lost originality and ingenuity
and, thus, impact.

Using a clich is like taking a familiar shortcut. At times, it can reassure listeners or allow you to
express yourself without thinking too much. Yet it shows a lack of imagination and robs the
language of interesting word combinations and fresh descriptions. The danger is that this path will
lead you to stale thinking. My advice: Avoid clichs . . . like the plague!

Part 12: Clichs - Day-to-Day ones

Day to day uses of clichs.

Every culture and language has its clichs. Many embody universal truths. Some come from
farming, sports, business or the political arena. Others come from the influences of foreign
cultures. Consider the following:

.. No use crying over spilled milk

.. Old as dirt
.. I wasnt born yesterday
.. What goes around comes around
.. Yada, yada, yada
.. Moving forward
.. At the end of the day
.. Its dj vu all over again
.. Its like putting lipstick on a pig
.. When all is said and done
.. Laughing all the way to the bank
.. Its now or never
.. Tried and true
.. Its a slam dunk
.. No man left behind
.. That goes without saying
.. Talk is cheap
.. Where theres smoke, theres fire
If I Had a Nickel

By attending Toastmasters meetings regularly, youre likely exposed to a separate set of clichs.
.. Without further ado
.. Put your hands together for
.. This speaker needs no introduction
.. And so on and so forth
.. Think outside the box
.. In the final analysis
.. In conclusion

To which I respond: Get Thee to a Thesaurus

Dont be lazy. Replace these over-used phrases. A good first step is consulting a thesaurus for
appropriate alternatives. Seek precision in your speeches and stories. Among the great joys of the
English language are the creative ways in which sentences can be fashioned. Take pride in mixing
and matching words to create new, evocative combinations that enrich your stories, speeches and

If nothing else, modify the clich. For example, at a recent meeting of the LaughLovers club in
Oakland, California, I began my speech with the salutation Good evening, ladies and
Laughlovers! Because it was a twist on a standard clich (ladies and gentlemen), it garnered a
laugh. You, too, can surprise and delight your audiences by employing twists to common clichs
and create fresh word sequences that are simultaneously familiar and different.

Part 13: Thanking the audience

Thanking the audience.

A few weeks ago we mentioned a controversy about saying Thank You at the end of a speech.
Heres a discussion on this very topic by Margaret Page, DTM, a member of Sunshine
Toastmasters in Sechelt, Canada, and a Vancouver-based etiquette and protocol consultant.
Reach her at .

To thank or not to thank that is the question. When you are finished giving a speech, should you
say thank you to your audience?

Proper etiquette plays a big part in Toastmasters meetings, and the Do you thank the audience?
question lies at the heart of good Toastmanners. The issue sparks spirited debate in the
Toastmasters world, as shown by a discussion among the Official Toastmasters International
Members Group on LinkedIn.

Some members said that when you finish a speech with the words thank you, your conclusion
lacks creativity; end it with more dramatic impact, they urged. Picture leaving your audience with
a Big Bang [ending] a story or thought that will leave them wanting more, said Sarah Hilton,
a member of two clubs in London, Ontario, Canada. Thank you does not create this experience
for your audience.
But others argued that a thank you at the end is like an unwritten social contract between speaker
and audience. I have tried the most thunderous, rousing endings in the world, and the audience
will not clap until I say, Thank you.... that is their cue to clap, notes Sue Gaulke, a member of
the Hood River club in Hood River, Oregon.

Other members said each situation needs to be judged on its own. For example, you might say
thank you if youre speaking at a fund raiser but not if youre giving a speech to inform or

As an etiquette professional, I side with those in the pro-thank you camp who advocate thanking
ones audience every time. I believe gratitude on the part of the speaker should be clearly

Part 14: Thanking the audience - a little background

Background on why Margaret Page feels the way she does about this topic.

Margaret Page first wrote about this subject in the August 2007 issue of the Toastmaster
magazine. (That My Turn article was referenced in the LinkedIn discussion.).

My position is that audience members give speakers something of great value that deserves a
thank you: they give their precious time and (presumably) their full attention. Those two things
alone allow you to do what you came to the lectern to do present material of importance to

I once heard Bill Clinton, the former U.S. president, give a speech in Vancouver, Canada, and at
the end of the speech he took the time to thank everybody, right down to the lighting technicians.
I found this impressive it demonstrated thoughtfulness and impeccable manners.

However, its also true that concluding your speech with a polite thank you simply doesnt
produce a Big Bang dramatic ending. If you have not conveyed your gratitude somewhere during
the speech (and I dont condone starting off with a thank you), I suggest ending the speech with
that Big Bang, taking a pause, and then ending your time on the podium with a sincere thank you
to the audience (such as Youve been a great audience!). As Croix Sather, a member of several
clubs in Connecticut, said in the LinkedIn discussion: If you have to choose between saying
thank you or not, always say thank you (after a very long pause) with the sincerest and truest way
you can.

In recent years, Toastmasters Internationals official stance on the thank you issue has shifted a
bit. The old Communication and Leadership Program manual (now, called the Competent
Communication manual) used to say this about speech conclusions:

Dont end by saying Thank you. The audience should thank you for the
information youve shared. Instead, just close with your prepared ending,
nod at the Toastmaster of the meeting, and say, Mr. (or Madam)
Toastmaster then enjoy the applause!

The current version of the manual is more flexible on the matter, stating: Some speakers say
thank you at the very end to signal to the audience that they are finished, but this is not

Three years after I first wrote about the issue, my conclusion remains the same: Gratitude and
good manners belong wherever people gather, and should especially be on display when youre on
the podium. Isnt life better for everyone when we grab more not fewer opportunities to thank
those who give us their valuable time and attention?

Part 15: Apologizing

Margarets views on apologizing.

What about apologizing? I have attended Toastmasters clubs in which members have emphatically
stated never, ever apologize! I disagree. The need to apologize changes based on

When is it not good form to apologize and when is it recommended? Dont apologize if you
forgot to bring a handout or didnt get a piece of research done. Never tell audience members
what you intended to do and then add on an apologetic explanation. If you did that, youd be
apologizing to benefit yourself and not them. Sure, you may feel better by saying something.
Dont expect them to feel better as a result.

In addition, I guarantee your presentation will come across more powerfully and your listeners
will be happier if they dont hear that something is missing. I compare it to receiving a puzzle
from someone who then says, Oops, sorry, but some pieces are missing!

Having said that, is there a time when people benefit from your apologizing? Yes! Beg their
pardon when audience members have been inconvenienced physically in some way, but not if they
have been challenged mentally, such as giving too much data.

However, I suggest you do apologize for problems outside your control that affect everyone in
the room, such as: If its too hot or too cold, the lights go out, there arent enough chairs for
everyone, or if you have to tolerate noise coming from another room.

As you know, a prepared speaker checks into these physical considerations before presentation
time. But challenges like these happen in spite of your being well-organized. So when they do, its
good manners to express regret to people in your audience. Let them know you empathize with
their discomfort. It will make everyone feel better including you and its just the right thing to
Good etiquette belongs wherever people gather. Its especially important to show your best
manners when youre on the podium.

Part 16: Social Media Etiquette

Social Media Etiquette: General.

Tamar Weinberg is the author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web
( ) and blogs about social media marketing at

This series on social media etiquette is based on Tamars comments.

Social media mimics real relationships in many cases. Would you do the following in real
face-to-face relationships?

* Jump on the friendship bandwagon without properly introducing yourself?

* Consistently talk about yourself and promote only yourself without regard for those
around you?

* Randomly approach a friend you barely talk to and simply ask for favors repeatedly?

* Introduce yourself to another person as Pink House Gardening?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may need a refresher course on social media
etiquette and perhaps real-life etiquette too.

Part 17: Social Media Etiquette - Facebook

Social Media Etiquette: Facebook.

If you value your Facebook friendships, please do not:

* Add users as friends without proper introductions. If youre looking to make friends, tell
people who you are. Dont assume they know you especially if they, well, dont.

* Abuse application invites and consistently invite friends to participate in vampire or other

* Abuse group invites. If your friends are interested, theyll likely join without your
encouragement. And if they dont accept, dont send the group request more than once by
asking them to join via e-mail, wall post, or Facebook message.
* Turn your Facebook profile photo into a pitch so that you can gather leads through your
Facebook connections. Thanks, but no thanks. Facebook is about real friendships not

* Use a fake Facebook name. I cant tell you how many people have added me whose last
name is Com or Seo who is that? Im not adding you unless you can be honest
about who you are. Once upon a time, Facebook deleted all accounts that portrayed
people as business entities or things. I wish theyd employ the same tactics again.

* Publicize a private conversation on a wall post. In case it isnt obvious, Facebook wall
posts are completely public to all your friends (unless you tweak your privacy settings).
Private matters should be handled more privately: via e-mail or even in Facebook private

* Tag individuals in unflattering pictures that may even cost your friends their jobs. Never
portray anyone in a negative light, period. Further, if your friends request to be untagged,
honor the request.

* You should remember that some individuals wont network with you on a personal site
like Facebook without knowing who you are, even with the proper introduction. If youre
looking to establish a professional relationship with someone, consider .
Otherwise, consider building up rapport with people before randomly adding them as your

* Some people require face-to-face meetings before they invite you into their private online
lives. After all, Facebook was a tool that college students used before it was open to the
public, and some still use it purely as a personal communication tool. LinkedIn is still seen
as the more professional of the two.

Considering the above, heres a question on Facebook etiquette: Is it appropriate to let these
requests sit in pending mode or to reject them outright? In many instances, these requests are
probably better off sitting indefinitely (and its healthier than the rejection). Plus, in the future, you
may want to end up responding to that friend request positively.

Part 18: Social Media Etiquette - LinkedIn

Social Media Etiquette: LinkedIn.

If you value your professional networking opportunities on LinkedIn, please do not:

* Gather the e-mail addresses of users. Some spammers go so far as to locate e-mail
addresses of LinkedIn Group managers and use this mailing list to promote their own
company or service off-site.
* Ask for endorsements from individuals you dont know or who didnt do a good job in
your employ. Why would you want to be endorsed by someone who might be considered
a bad choice by others?

* Write a recommendation for someone a few days before firing that person. If anything, it
may tip him off that hes about to get the axe. Worse yet, it makes your word unreliable.

Part 19: Social Media Etiquette - Twitter

Social Media Etiquette: Twitter.

If your cell phone friends help you feel connected moment-to-moment and bring joy to your day,
please do not:

* Follow a user and then unfollow her before she has a chance to follow back, or as soon as
she follows you.

* Mass-follow everyone so that you can artificially inflate your numbers. Some clods then
use that number as a success metric for influence. And worse yet, they submit a news
release about it.

* Consistently use your Twitter stream for nothing but self-promotion and ego.

* Request that your friends retweet your tweets on a consistent basis. This is much more
bothersome when the request comes via IM or e-mail and not on Twitter itself. The
bottom line: If your content is good enough to stand on its own, it will be retweeted.

* Miss the chance to humanize your profile. Twitter is also about real relationships. Add an
avatar and a bio at the minimum. Let people know who you are. To take it a step further,
make it easy for people to contact you outside Twitter if necessary. This is especially
important if someone on Twitter needs to reach you but cant direct message you since
youre not following them.

* Use Twitter to repeat personal and confidential correspondence. If youre not happy with
the way an e-mail communication progressed about a private matter, take it up with that
person. Broadcasting your dissatisfaction with a private conversation makes you look
unprofessional and untrustworthy.

* Use your Twitter feed as a chat room for conversations that are exclusive in nature and
not as a broadcast medium. Its nice that Twitter empowers you to use the @ symbol to
talk directly to individuals, and thats fine in moderation. As a friend recently said to me,
Im tired of my Twitter feed being a venue for a private conversation between person X,
person Y, and person Z.
* Leverage your Twitter connections to send spam via direct messages to those who follow
you. Two days later, you may wonder why they dont follow you anymore.
* Abuse Twitter during a crisis. Its a shame when large-scale tragedy strikes, but this is not
an appropriate opportunity to use viral marketing techniques.

Part 20: Social Media Etiquette - YouTube

Social Media Etiquette: YouTube.

If you want to make the most of your video connections with friends and acquaintances, please do

* Ask someone repeatedly to watch your low-quality video or subscribe to your channel and
give you a five-star rating. Instead, you should post only your best videos and allow your
viewers to form their own opinions.

* Force people to subscribe to your YouTube channel by any nefarious means, such as
viruses or other malware that signs people up before they even know who you are.

Part 21: Social Media Etiquette - Blogs

Social Media Etiquette: blogs.

If you want your blog posts to be read and valued, please do not:

* Comment on other articles using names, such as Yellow Brick Plumbing. Isnt your
name actually Alan? Theres no SEO value to these comments (theyre not followed by
default) and this approach only makes you lose credibility in the eyes of the blogger. This
isnt the way to network!

* Use content from another blog without attribution. Sometimes a specific blog will get an
exclusive. Then, another blog will write on the story using the original blog post as its
source without attribution. Even popular blogs will rip off stories from lesser-known
blogs in their space. Dont let greed get in the way of your own blogging habits, and be
sure to link out where appropriate.

* Send a pitch to a blogger requesting a link exchange even though your site has no
relevancy to the bloggers content. I write about social media and people, not about
skateboarding. And, well, they say that social media is the new link exchange, so instead
of asking for an old-fashioned link (which might have worked in 2002), consider using a
more viable strategy for this modern time period.

* Turn a blog into a flame war against someone you dont like. If you are in the wrong,
acknowledge the wrongdoing and dont use other blogs to tarnish someone elses image.
Part 22: Social Media Etiquette - Conclusion

Using etiquette on other social media sites and conclude our series on social media

As new social networking sites appear, youll want to join in the fun and share the excitement of
your new discovery, but please do not:

* Allow a new social networks automated system to invite everyone youve ever e-mailed.
Your friends and you pay a price when you submit your entire e-mail address book just
because the service requests it. Read the fine print on the page, and youll see that you
dont have to do what is asked. Besides, you should never volunteer your e-mail account
password to any social site. And for good measure, your e-mail account password should
not be the same as the password for your social networking account.

Think about the consequences of your engagement on any social site. Racial slurs, criticisms
without warrant, and blatant abuse dont work in real life. They have no place in the social media
channels simply because you can be more anonymous on these sites. If you were living in New
York and you walked up to a stranger with the same foul-mouthed comments that are rampant on
many social media sites, you might never make it home. Consider how your comments could be
perceived before you actually post them, and think about logic above emotion at all times.

Above all, think about maintaining a certain level of professionalism, since people can use
whatever you make permanent on these sites against you. Not all blogs will remove a comment
after youve requested that they do so simply because you were angry when you wrote the
comment. Before you hit post, realize that this will be a permanent reflection of your identity
and that it may never be erased. It may even be used to judge you.

Remember that social media communities are real relationships, real conversations, and as such,
they should be treated as if they are real. Its not about a mentality of me, myself, and I. Its about
the collective, the community and the common good.

Part 23: Globe-Trotting

Etiquette needed while traveling around the world.

Terri Morrison is a co-author of Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in More Than
Sixty Countries and Dun & Bradstreets Guide to Doing Business Around the World. For more
information, visit .

This series on globe-trotting etiquette is based on Terris comments.

Preparing for an international presentation can be fraught with concerns: travel arrangements,
conference logistics, security and oh yes, your speech!
Before you step up to the microphone to address an international audience, its a good idea to
learn about your attendees. Inquiring about the protocol and business practices in each country
will help you avoid delivering an embarrassing faux pas along with your brilliant presentation.

Part 24: Globe-Trotting - 3 tips: Name

Globe-trotting etiquette tip #1, Say my name correctly

The first of three tips on globe-trotting etiquette that may help build your credibility while
speaking abroad. The three tips are:

1. Say my name correctly.

2. Write the date right.
3. Dont Move,

Lets examine the first one: Say my name correctly.

Names represent much more than just a moniker in many countries. They can be a link to an
individuals heritage: his or her parents, grandparents, or even the town where he or she was born.
Therefore, mangling a name is more significant when the persons name is actually a patronymic
a family name.

For example, if you were extremely close friends with the former President of Russia, Vladimir
Vladimirovich Putin, you might address him as Vladimir Vladimirovich. Among themselves,
Russians often address each other by their first names and patronymic. Thus, Vladimir
Vladimirovich Putins first name is Vladimir (which has been translated to mean Great, glorious
ruler), and his middle name means son of Vladimir.

This tradition is more widespread than you might think. Many cultures from Arabic to Swedish
to Spanish incorporate their parents names into their own. If you cannot pronounce the name
correctly, you not only insult the person in front of you but his or her ancestors as well.

Of course, you should be careful about more than pronunciation. Formal situations present their
own challenges. Lets say that your first presentation is in Germany, where your host, the
Geschftsfhrer (CEO or executive director), Dr. Ernst Kohler, formally introduces you to a
roomful of eminent guests. In response, you graciously state: Thank you very much, Ernst, for
that kind introduction. It is an honor and a pleasure to address this illustrious group!

That may be an appreciative line in Muncie, Indiana, but its too informal in Munich. Using the
directors first name in front of such distinguished company is not acceptable. Correct protocol
mandates that you say the doctors title(s) and last name in public, at least until he invites you to
switch to his first name20 years later!

"When you are in the limelight, and all eyes are upon you, committing an appalling
faux pas in international etiquette can ruin your credibility."
In some countries, it is a challenge simply to discern which is your hosts first name and last. For
example, in China, the family name (or surname), is written first, followed by a middle name
(which used to be called a generational name), and then the first name. So, if you were speaking
at the upcoming Olympics, and the president of China, Hu Jintao, was in the audience, you would
address him correctly as President Hu. Not, as one U.S. executive blithely blurted out, President
Tao! (He may as well have called him Bubba.) Additionally, Chinese wives do not generally
take their husbands surnames they keep their maiden names. Thus, it is not proper to address
Liu Yongqing, the wife of President Hu Jiantao, as Mrs. Hu she is correctly known as Madam
Liu or Madam Liu Yongqing.

There are many more naming conventions in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. One
good source is Merriam Websters Guide to International Business Communications by Toby
Atkinson. Another one which I co-authored is Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: How to Do
Business in More Than Sixty Countries.

Part 25: Globe-Trotting - 3 tips: Date

Globe-trotting etiquette tip #2, Write the date right.

As one of your sharply designed PowerPoint slides comes up, you notice that some audience
members look puzzled. This may be because you wrote a delivery date, release date or even your
birth date with the month first, then the day and then the year. This is an interesting habit in the
United States, but one that is not followed worldwide. Writing dates differently has caused
innumerable miscommunications on everything from scheduling appointments to closing

For example, lets say your slide says: Delivery by 10/09/12. That means October 9th, 2012,
correct? Not if you are in France, Qatar or Brazil, where they write the day first, then the month,
then the year. So for these people, 10/09/12 (or 10.09.12) would mean September 10th, 2012! If
you receive irate phone calls in mid-September from such international clients, it is your fault
because you have missed your own deadline!

In China, Hong Kong or places using materials with certain international formats, the year is listed
first, then the month, then the day. That would make 10/09/12 September 12th, 2010, in Beijing.
If your Chinese clients demur when you present your offer, it may be that your delivery date is too
protracted for them to do business with you.

Part 26: Globe-Trotting - 3 tips: Move

Globe-trotting etiquette tip #3, Dont move.

Subtle non-verbal communications are the standard in much of Asia, and those minimal gestures
transmit tremendous amounts of information. Therefore, if you take the podium and start
gesticulating wildly punching out your points with your fingers in the air, or whacking your
right hand into your left palm your crowd may pay more attention to your body language than
your speech content.

Tracey Wilen, an author who specializes in womens experiences internationally, has written
about an anecdote that illustrates this point. According to the story, a female executive was
addressing a group in Japan and noticed a gentleman in the first row who seemed to be making
faces at her. He squinted, pursed his lips, and grimaced throughout the first half of her
presentation. His bizarre facial contortions disturbed the presenter enough that, during the break,
she asked her host if there was something wrong with the gentleman in the first row. She thought
perhaps he was ill, or suffered from a nervous tic. To her horror, the perpetrator rushed over
moments later, bowed abjectly, and declared: Honorable (Ms. Presenter), I am so sorry if I
offended you in any way! I was so mesmerized by your presentation, I had no idea I was imitating

Metaphorically, he was singing along with her animated facial movements! Not good.

Subtlety is best in high-context cultures (like Japan, where much communication depends on
cultural awareness). Be discreet in your body language. Actually, avoiding any gestures is prudent
until you see your clients use them first.

To complicate matters further, many non-verbal communications have entirely different meanings
from one country to another. Here are three standard interactions examined from several cultural

* Shaking Hands. In the United States, a firm grip has long been an indicator of strength of
character, but styles of handclasps can definitely vary around the world. In Asia, a gentle,
extended grip is normal and doesnt belie the negotiating strength of the participant. Many
cultures disapprove of publicly touching the opposite gender. Devout Muslims, Hindus,
Sikhs and Jews must not touch the opposite sex, so follow your hosts lead.

* Bowing. The tradition of bowing is so complex that many Japanese attend classes in the
proper protocol of the bow. It is rare that an international visitor would be able to
appropriately execute a formal bow (to the right depth, with the correct duration, etc).
However, a polite attempt to bow in greeting will be appreciated by your Asian hosts. If
youre the subordinate in the relationship, bow lower.

* Kissing. Most initial business meetings around the world dont involve a kiss. But after
establishing a relationship with clients in the Middle East, Latin America, many parts of
the Mediterranean, and parts of Africa, there may be times when your clients/friends
initiate a brief kiss on either cheek, accompanied by a handshake, hug or pat on the back.
Historically, Russian men have been known to participate in a rather intense embrace,
which included a kiss or two.

In the Middle East, the same custom can occur between males, followed by an extended period in
close proximity. And if you are in Brazil, kisses between the sexes often happen after only one
meeting. Wherever you are, be certain that you never back away from a kiss from your host. You
do not want to undermine your new business relationship by being coy about your personal space.

Clearly, people around the world are not alike. Different cultures have different customs,
priorities, ways of thinking and negotiating. When you are in the limelight, and all eyes are upon
you, committing an appalling faux pas in international etiquette can ruin your credibility. Instead,
build your credibility by properly addressing your audience, getting your dates right and checking
your body language. And when the time is right, go for the big hug.

Part 27: Globe-Trotting - Rude Move

Globe-trotting rude moves as told by Terri Morrison.

Below are some gestures you want to avoid in other countries:

* A-OK! In the United States, making this gesture signifies that all's well! However, in
France it means zero; in Japan it can mean money; and in Brazil, Guatemala and
Paraguay, it is obscene.

* Get the Point? Pointing at a person with your index finger is considered rude. Different
cultures point with their chins, or they extend their entire open hand toward the object.

* Thumbs Up! This seemingly innocuous gesture is fine in America, but its rude in the
Middle East (don't hitchhike with your thumb out in Israel). Its obscene in parts of Africa
(e.g. Nigeria), and may mean you want five items in Japan!

* Cmere! Come Hither... or Here Spot! Never beckon anyone by curling your index
finger upwards. While this gesture works in the United States (particularly when flirting),
it is exceedingly bad manners in many parts of the world. That is how you summon an
animal. Instead, turn your palm down and wave your fingers, or whole hand, in a scooping

* Wink! Guard your gaze. Winks can communicate everything from This is our little
secret in North America to a romantic invitation in Latin America, to a vulgar insult in
India or China.

* A Smile is not a universal expression of genuine pleasure around the world. In many parts
of Asia, a smile can be used to cover up embarrassment, shock or fury. The French only
smile when they have a reason; they assume that anyone wearing a constant grin in public
is either condescending or feeble-minded.

* Showing the soles of your feet, or using your left hand to eat. These are inappropriate
behaviors in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, parts of Africa and many other
locales. If in doubt, follow the lead of your hosts and youll make the correct gesture.
Part 28: Meeting etiquette

Meeting etiquette.

These suggestions are provided by Karin Schroeck-Singh.

* Be punctual or even better turn up a bit earlier. If this is not possible, arrive at the
scheduled time at the latest. But don't be late! If you turn up late, step in quickly and
quietly while taking your seat. The less interruption you create the better.

* If you need to hold a presentation, make sure that handouts, PowerPoint slides etc. are
ready and organized.

* Don't interrupt the speaker unless he/she has encouraged open discourse throughout the
meeting. Don't interrupt other attendees either. Don't talk during a meeting with other
colleagues. This is disruptive to other attendees and inconsiderate of the speaker.

* Silence your electronics, e.g. cell phones, pagers etc. You can either activate a voice mail
or forward messages to another phone. If youve forgotten to turn off your phone during
the meeting, don't answer it in the middle of the meeting.

* Stay calm. Don't fidget, tap your pen, play with your fingers, read materials not
concerning the meeting, or any other act that might distract other attendees. Regardless of
how heated the meeting may become, always remain calm.

* Attend the entire meeting. If it is absolutely necessary or you have prior permission, you
can leave earlier. Bear in mind, that leaving earlier is disruptive to other attendees and
inconsiderate to the speaker.

* Dress professionally for the meeting.

* Be brief when speaking and make sure what you say is relevant.

* Set a time limit for the meeting and end on time!

* Follow the agenda. Create an agenda and make sure you distribute it to all participants
beforehand. Stick to only what is on the agenda.

* If the meeting goes off topic, remind the attendees of the agenda at hand and suggest that
unrelated matters be addressed at another time.

* Be poised, polite and polished. Don't curse and don't use slang.

* Give full attention to the meeting, don't text messages, check your emails, apply make up,
comb your hair, clip your nails, etc. This is not the right place for it.
* Keep eye contact 80 - 90 % of the time.

Part 29: Who Is In Charge

Who is in charge at a Toastmasters Club meeting.

The club officer in charge is the highest ranking club officer present. Heres the ranking order:

Club President
VP Education
VP Membership
VP Public Relations

Put another way, the club officer in charge of the meeting is the President.

If the Club President is not present, the person in charge is the VP Education.

If the Club President and VP Education are not present, the person in charge is the VP

If the Club President, VP Education, and VP Membership are not present, the person in charge is
the VP Public Relations.

If the Club President, VP Education, VP Membership, and VP Public Relations are not present,
the person in charge is the Secretary.

If the Club President, VP Education, VP Membership, VP Public Relations, and Secretary are not
present, the person in charge is the Treasurer.

If the Club President, VP Education, VP Membership, VP Public Relations, Secretary, and

Treasurer are not present, the person in charge is the Sergeant-at-Arms.

Part 30: Summary

Summarize what weve learned about correct protocol and procedures during club

1. Stand with erect posture and practice good eye contact, vocal variety, gestures, etc.

2. Greet each other properly during the club meeting.

3. We examined how to introduce various role holders.

4. In order to create goodwill and offer encouragement to our members and guests, we
applaud quite frequently at our meetings.

5. We talked about going to and from the lectern.

6. Use the lectern properly to increase meeting efficiency.

7. Make sure that all your visual aids are set up and ready to go before you are introduced.

8. Each role holder should explain the Toastmaster acronyms as they use them.

9. We looked at various types of Toastmasters terminology.

10. We looked at how clichs are used at the beginning of speeches.

11. In place of clichs, be creative in your writing and speaking.

12. Replace those over-used phrases and clichs.

13. To thank or not to thank that is the question.

14. To thank or not to thank that is the question: Some background.

15. Does the need to apologize change based on circumstances?

16. We looked at Social Media Etiquette.

17. We looked at Social Media Etiquette: Facebook.

18. We looked at Social Media Etiquette: LinkedIn.

19. We looked at Social Media Etiquette: Twitter.

20. We looked at Social Media Etiquette: YouTube.

21. We looked at Social Media Etiquette: Blogs.

22. We looked at Social Media Etiquette: Conclusion.

23. We looked at proper etiquette while traveling around the world.

24. We looked at three tips on globe-trotting etiquette: Say my name correctly.

25. We looked at three tips on globe-trotting etiquette: Write the date right.

26. We looked at three tips on globe-trotting etiquette: Dont move.

27. Avoid certain gestures when giving a presentation in other countries.

28. We looked at meeting etiquette.

29. Who Is in Charge?

We can learn and practice the leadership skills weve discussed the past several weeks. Well look
more professional and so will the club.