Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Prepping for VIPs

Earlier this week, The Hub got a visit from Representative Dave Camp, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Senator Max Baucus. They're on tour for their Simpler Taxes initiative, and we were honored to host them.

So how DO you prepare for a visit from Congress and a bunch of press people? Here's how we did it.

Notify your peeps
All of them. Yes, all of them. We let our managers know, and relied on them to spread the word and ensure that our staff knew this was happening. The last thing you want is for anyone in your organization to be caught unawares. Aside from being unsightly, it's just not fair to your team members.

Choose your location wisely
We have three facilities in Philadelphia, but we chose our Cira Centre location for a few reasons: 1. It's located adjacent to a major train station, so transport wouldn't ever be a problem; 2. It's a crowning jewel in terms of meetings and events space--we're the first-ever privately-owned meeting space to be LEED certified. "Choose something you're proud of" is a no-brainer. It's the finding something that works for everyone that can be tricky, but the payoff is worth it.

Allow lots of wiggle room
For everything. For timing issues, for the number of people you're expecting, for every. possible. thing. That said, you can't prepare for everything, so...

Just roll with it
Especially when the former governor of Pennsylvania shows up. We love surprise visitors, and with the right prep, you will, too.
  Former Governor Ed Rendell with Hub co-founders Bill Decker and John New, and Rep. Dave Camp and Sen. Max Baucus (Photo: Lindsay McPherson)

What are *your* tips for prepping for a VIP visit? Share them below.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Is Etiquette Still Relevant?

Sharifah Masten is founder of Protocol and Meetings By Design, a firm that specializes in international protocol and etiquette at meetings. Over the next few months, Sharifah will be weighing in with monthly posts on how meetings and events can have truly international appeal—and how to use protocol and etiquette to enhance your meetings and events. Without further ado, here's Sharifah's first post. 
When I tell people I specialize in training and consulting on protocol and etiquette, I am often asked a series of questions: “Is there a need for that? In today’s society does it even matter? What does it have to do with the way I conduct business?”
The answer is this: Today, more than ever, protocol and etiquette are at the forefront of how we interact with others. Today, businesses are judged on their leaders and employees by everyone from stakeholders to consumers, so understanding protocol and etiquette allows us to build and manage relationships with others on a business level, but also on the increasingly-important personal level.
In my careers with NATO and the military, I’ve worked with international organizations and seen cultures around the world. And while I admit there are times that I have become frustrated during a conversation or an impasse  in the middle of a negotiation. it always helps to take a step back and ask myself the same questions I ask clients: “What was my point? Did I explain it in a way that the other person understood? Did I not only listen, but did I understand what their point was? Did my body language contradict my words?” Understanding protocol and etiquette means appreciating how our actions and words directly impact, and impart, our communications and relationships with others.
Protocol and etiquette is not only about you, but equally, if not more importantly, it is about the person you’re communicating to. Most of us were brought up to respect our elders, to say Ma’am or Sir, to exercise basic manners. Extending courtesy to others is not a sign of weakness. As we grow as individuals, communicating with others becomes equal parts what we as people perceive; what we are projecting, and how others receive our words and actions. Sometimes, we need to stand our ground and make a point, but we must consider doing it in a manner that does not demean or alienate others.
In the end, our goal is not always about getting the other person or side to like us. Our goal can also be about gaining a mutual respect and understanding by all involved. 
You can reach Sharifah and Protocol and Meetings by Design here, and be sure to tune in next month when Sharifah weighs in on how Americans are perceived by other nationalities. What's your favorite business etiquette tip?