Algonquin to offer business protocol, etiquette training

Tom Pechloff
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Algonquin College is partnering with an American education institute to create business protocol workshops the college says could eventually expand across the country and be incorporated into a full-year graduate certificate program.

Algonquin signs MOU with Protocol School of Washington. (left to right) Claude Brulé, vice-president, academic, Algonquin, Pamela Eyring, president, PSOW, Cheryl Jensen, president, Algonquin, Altaf Sovani, chair, School of Hospitality and Tourism, Jim Kyte, dean, School of Hospitality and Tourism

Algonquin president Cheryl Jensen signed a memorandum of understanding Monday with Pamela Eyring, president of the Protocol School of Washington (PSOW).

The partnership will begin with a workshop called “Protocol for the Canadian Business Professional” to be held Oct. 3-5. The workshop will be open to everyone at a cost of $3,000. Then in February, a second workshop will be offered, tailored to the needs of students, at a reduced cost of $1,500.

This is the first time the PSOW has partnered with an educational institution. The chair of Algonquin’s School of Hospitality and Tourism, Altaf Sovani, said the arrangement is a true collaboration.

“They are coming with their courses, we are helping them with the Canadian content,” he said.

Mr. Sovani said the college’s event management program offers some protocol training but doesn’t go in depth.

“There isn’t a course or a certificate where people can take that in a college or university and get that, and I think there’s a big demand out there in the industry from our research,” he said.

Mr. Sovani said the partnership will start in Ottawa, but the two sides will look for colleges or universities in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver willing to host similar workshops.

The partnership could even expand beyond workshops to a full-fledged certificate program.

“We could actually design a one-year graduate certificate in international protocol,” he said.

While Mr. Sovani said he doesn’t think using the wrong fork at a formal dinner would be a deal-breaker, he said it’s something that many people may not think about until it’s too late and they find themselves at a gala or possibly hosting some type of international function.

How do you set up the flags of different countries? Who sits where at dinner?

“If you’re invited to one of these places and you are not doing the things the way they should be done, you feel very uncomfortable,” he said.

The workshops will include training on working in cross-cultural situations, personal diplomacy (eye contact, body language) and business protocol in Canada, a federal democracy under a constitutional monarchy. That’s day one.

Day two focuses on principles of precedence in Canada, a general overview of many of the topics to follow. There will also be sessions on business seating and how to address people in certain situations.

Day three will address the flag issue as well as respecting other countries’ national anthems. There will also be sessions on how to give and accept gifts and how to organize a wide range of events.

Organizations: Protocol School of Washington, Canadian Business Professional, School of Hospitality and Tourism

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, Toronto Calgary Edmonton Vancouver

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