Precedence is the preferential order granted to individuals in official events and social occasions. Precedence is one of the aspects of International Protocol that applies in business interactions. In official occasions and state events, attended by high-ranking authorities or members of armed forces, precedence follows a loooong list of rules. But in the business arena, these rules may be simplified and become easy to follow.
Although precedence is established by a number of criteria, age and gender are not considered: at an event, people will be treated according to protocol, not chivalry.
Precedence will determine the order in which individuals are received or seated, have their names listed in a program, are introduced, or are dealt with in any situation where an order is established. Here are a few simple rules:
- Within a hierarchy, RANKING establishes precedence. Ranking takes precedence over age; among people who hold equal positions, the longest-serving person takes precedence.
- A GUEST or CLIENT takes precedence over one’s colleagues or co-hosts. For example, when organizing a conference, your guest speaker will be greeted first, or before other members of the organizing committee.
- Precedence determines seating priority: the position of honor is to the right of the host.
- For introductions, the higher authority RECEIVES the other person. Example: “Ms. CEO, this is our new Director of Business Development.”.
- When all else is equal, precedence can be established alphabetically.
By Viviane Vicente