Featured guest blog on The Protocol School of Washington.
“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care” – President Theodore Roosevelt
I recently attended the Protocol School of Washington’s 30th anniversary summit and one of the highlights of the summit was the presentation on Emotional Intelligence by Dr. Marc Brackett of The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
I have long thought that our profession could benefit from a more sophisticated approach to the “protocol gift” and to see it backed by scientific research at Yale was important!
The Science Behind the Protocol Gift
Dr. Brackett spoke at length about how “feelings” impact performance and creativity. He explained how our personal biochemistry is impacted by our emotional state which scientifically supports his case for a more emotionally intelligent approach to life.
Dr. Brackett along with Behavioral Economist, Dr. Kahneman, have profoundly influenced our thinking about the “protocol gift”. While seemingly humble, the protocol gift can be a powerful tool for leaders. Dr. Kahneman writings teach us that we are highly influenced by the “framing” of arguments, thus our “choice” of gift can start a conversation. The recipient will naturally ask what the gift is about, which in turn allows the principal to tell the desired story.
The Protocol Gift in Action
Both the past Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff chose gifts which spoke to the originality of America’s choice to have civilian authority over the Military. The gifts allowed the principals to talk about a subject dear to them. Knowledge is transferred, the conversation “safe”.
This approach also works well for diplomats and business leaders. The choice of a gift that reflects culture, history, geography, and hospitality is often very well received. Symbolism behind the gift can emotionally connect individuals and make a real difference in evolving the relationship.
Do you need to give a corporate gift?
How to Choose a Protocol Gift
Protocol gifts are all about the thought and appropriateness behind the gift. Carefully selecting a gift that will resonate with the recipient demands emotional intelligence. Knowing who the recipient is- their circumstances, interests, culture, and history should all be considered when selecting the gift. One needs to think about the symbolism, the level of artistry, and ensure the gift is quality appropriate for the occasion.
The importance of a gift does not need to equate to its cost. A humble and thoughtful gift can communicate that you care enough to figure out what might appeal and be appreciated, which is always flattering regardless of the price.
Building Positive Relationships by Showing You Care
Dr. Brackett shows us the importance of giving a gift that shows you care. The recipient can feel a positive or negative response to a gift depending on the time and effort you put into finding something truly meaningful for them. A positive reinforcement will contribute to an atmosphere for creative negotiation and relationship building.
It’s time to move on from the predictable, ordinary, uninspiring, and disposable. Let our team help you find the special gift you’re looking for that will help you build positive relationships.
Again, it’s not about the money, it’s about caring enough to figure out what will speak to the recipient, which can be exciting, fulfilling, and beneficial to both of you.