Nancy MitchellNancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).
Host: Where can I find information about gift giving customs in other countries?
Nancy Mitchell: There are many resources available and they have books, websites, people. I think first and foremost a better book called Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands , it is a wonderful resource, there is a chapter on an individual country, will tell a lot about the history, the travel, the food, the business etiquettes if you will when you traveling or doing business there. Then there is always something about gift giving, when you give a gift, should you wrap it, should you be prepared to get gifts at all levels, what are some taboos, gifts to avoid, it is a wonderful book.
There is another series called Global Etiquette Guide , a book on each country or each region of the world this same information there, what to avoid, so that when you are doing something that is so senior, giving a gift is not having the opposite affect, then that is embarrassing or understanding the recipient. There are websites available well. One that comes to mind it is called executiveplanet.
com. Again, you click on country go right to the gift giving etiquette; find out what is acceptable and what gifts to avoid.
Then people who work in protocol are also a resource, find somebody on the website, send an e-mail, ask a question. The important thing is to do the research and not to make mistakes.