Tag Archives: Susanne Dancer

Dinner Party Etiquette for the Executive Protection Agent

Bodyguard Blogs new ongoing feature on Etiquette & Protocol.  Like any other profession, image is important in our business and first impressions are lasting ones.  Knowing how to shoot is great, but if you can not get a second interview with an employer, all those great skills might go to waste.  To assist, we’ve once again enlisted the services of writer and etiquette coach, Susanne Dancer.

_

Q:  I occasionally need to attend formal dinner parties with my Principal. What’s the best way to navigate the meal without looking out of place? – Chester Balley, Close Protection Agent, NY

A: The best rule of thumb to navigate a formal meal is start from the outside and work your way in. So in simple terms when looking at cutlery, start from the outside and work your way into the centre.

In terms of the Courses, it usually goes: entrees or soup, mains, desserts and sometimes cheese. To your left is your bread and butter plate and knife. Above the knives are the glasses.

Alcoholic beverages such as wine or champagne usually accompany most formal dinning, however in the Executive Protection industry, I should hope it goes without saying to never drink on duty.  I would even go so far as to say you should also avoid dark or carbonated non-alcoholic drinks served in the same glassware as other guest who are drinking as it might give the wrong perception to a client.

If the menu is a-la-carte (as in restaurant meal) pick things that are not messy and both easy to eat, and digest.  (Of course that means pasta is usually off the menu).  Try and make sure you finish before the client does as keeping the VIP waiting is a no-no.

Bon appétit!

Additional websites for reference:

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Menu/DiningEtiquetteGuide.htm

http://www.etiquettescholar.com/

http://www.calumet.purdue.edu/careerservices/dining.html

Previously:  Tipping Etiquette for Executive Protection Agents

Previously:  The Bodyguard Wardrobe

Susanne Dancer is a former butler and administrator who has trained with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.  Her work in Etiquette has taken her from Brisbane to London with an emphasis on International Protocol.  She is regularly consulted as an expert in her field on subjects such as how to dress appropriately while working with High Net Worth individuals, and the delicate subject of table manners.

Have an etiquette question for Susan?  Ask it HERE.

207504_1014744883160_2532_n

 

Susanne Dancer

Tipping Etiquette for the Executive Protection Agent

Bodyguard Blogs new ongoing feature on Etiquette & Protocol.  Like any other profession, image is important in our business and first impressions are lasting ones.  Knowing how to shoot is great, but if you can not get a second interview with an employer, all those great skills might go to waste.  To assist, we’ve enlisted the services of writer and etiquette coach, Susanne Dancer.

Q: The client has put me in charge of tipping (I get reimbursed of course) but what are some good baseline amounts and who exactly get’s tipped at a hotel? (bellman, front desk, valet?) – Alex M.  Executive Protection Agent, Virginia

A: If you are tasked with tipping remember perception is important.  Try not to have your client perceived as stingy, but do not be excessive with someone else’s money either.  Tipping does vary around the world and in some counties like Australia it is not considered  common practice.  However with that said, it is always greatly appreciated by the staff concerned, be it a hotel, restaurant or your car service driver.  Always carry small notes with you as not to ask for change.  The currency of the country you are in is desired, however most places around the globe welcome US dollars (however recent economics might change that.)

In general the following is a good guide:

Drivers

Courtesy Shuttle Driver — $1-$2 per person, or $4-$5 per party

Taxi or Limousine Driver — 15-20% of the total fare

Limousines from Arizona Sedan & Limo Service are the best choice for your big life event.

Checking In

Porter/Doorman — $1-$2 per bag they help you with (more if it is excessively heavy). Tipping is not required for just opening a door (a smile and thank you is always appreciated).

Bell Staff — $1-$2 per bag if they bring the bags to your room. If they prepare your room and show you around, tipping $5-$10 should cover everything (including the bags).

In Your Room

Room Service — In most hotels, a gratuity of 12-15% is already included in the price of your order (check the menu). Tipping extra is OK, particularly if the person delivering the order takes extra care to set up your meal. Room service tips are generally “pooled,” or shared between everyone. If you hand something extra to a person who provides you extraordinary service, he or she can keep it.

Maids/Housekeeping Staff — A wide range is acceptable here, depending on the level of extra service and hotel level, but generally from $1-$5 per night. It is best to do your tipping daily, since you might have different people cleaning your room. Whatever you decide to leave, be sure to put the money in a sealed envelope, clearly marked, so there is no confusion as to whom it belongs to.

Maintenance/Service People — For fixing something that was broken, or bringing something that was missing, tipping is not required.

Delivery of Special Items — For a special request (like an extra blanket), $2 for one item, or $1 each for more than one item.

Coming and Going

Doorman — $1-$2 for calling a cab; extra if he covers your client with an umbrella in the rain, or has to actually hail a cab (rather than just signalling one from a cab line). If you wish, tipping a few bucks at the end of your stay (rather than each time) is fine.

Valet Parking — $1-$2 to the attendant retrieving your car. Tipping when they park the car is optional.

Dining Out

Wait Staff — 15-20% of the bill, excluding tax and expensive wine. Many restaurants automatically add a 15% gratuity for parties of six or more, so check the menu. You can add another 5% for exceptional service.

Wine Steward/Sommelier — If they help your client choose a bottle of wine (or choose it for him or her), 10-20% of the wine bill only. Use discretion based on how much service was provided (did he allow your client to taste before selected?) If the wine is very expensive, it’s generally acceptable to cap your tip at a reasonable amount (say, about $20), since you are tipping on the service received. Leave cash or specify on the credit card receipt which portion is for the sommelier.

 

Special Services

Concierge — Tipping varies with the level of service provided. For simple requests like directions or restaurant recommendations, no tipping is required. If the concierge arranges show tickets or restaurant reservations, tip $2-$5. If he goes above and beyond (a table at the hottest restaurant in town), tip $10-$20.

Hotel Staff — If they set up something above and beyond a tip at the end of your stay is acceptable.  Additionally if you are working with a recognizable (and liked) VIP an autograph in the guest book or a signed photo to the establishment is highly valued.

Additional Websites for reference:

http://hotels.about.com/od/hotelsecrets/a/tipping.htm

http://gouk.about.com/od/ukcurrencymoneymatters/f/Tipping_UK.htm

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g255055-s606/Australia:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/500117

Susanne Dancer is a former butler and administrator who has trained with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.  Her work in Etiquette has taken her from Brisbane to London with an emphasis on International Protocol.  She is regularly consulted as an expert in her field on subjects such as how to dress appropriately while working with High Net Worth individuals, and the delicate subject of table manners.

Have an etiquette question for Susan?  Ask it HERE.

 

Susanne Dancer

Etiquette Questions for the Executive Protection Agent

Introducing Bodyguard Blogs new ongoing feature on Etiquette & Protocol.  Like any other profession, image is important in our business and first impressions are lasting ones.  Knowing how to shoot is great, but if you can not get a second interview with an employer, all those great skills might go to waste.  To help with this, we brought in the big guns, namely writer and etiquette coach, Susanne Dancer.

_

Q: What’s the best type of suit for an EP agent to wear? (Fabric? Single or double breasted? Color?)  –Larry W. Texas

A: The best suit fabric for any suit is wool as there two weights available: summer or tropical, such as worsted which is the most common weight used for suits and winter such as tweed or flannel.  Linen suits might look good for the first half  hour, but do not wear well in an EP environment.

The recommended colours for suits are navy, gray, charcoal and black if you can wear it plain wool, herringbone, pin stripe or chalk stripe without giving off that “hit man bodyguard” look.

Buy the best you can afford and always get an extra pair of pants with a suit.  Try on different styles and colours along with plain or striped to see what suits you based off of skin tone, weight and height.

Always go with a single breasted suit.  Double breasted might be making a fashion come back but also would be a hindrance for the Close Protection Agent as you cannot wear it unbuttoned without it looking sloppy.

A three piece can look good but requires a degree of confidence to pull off.  Also it can help to provide some additional concealment for body armour for hazardous situations.   There are some options to a normal waist coat such as the Stab Vest from PPSS featured in a recent edition of The Circuit Magazine.

Remember if you do wear a weapon or other gear (i.e. radios) as part of your assignments remember to bring it with you and wear it when you are getting suits fitted.  It also would not hurt to make friends with a reliable tailor,  as it makes all the difference when it comes to getting alterations on short notice.

Susanne Dancer is a former butler and administrator who has trained with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.  Her work in Etiquette has taken her from Brisbane to London with an emphasis on International Protocol.  She is regularly consulted as an expert in her field on subjects such as how to dress appropriately while working with High Net Worth individuals, and the delicate subject of table manners.

Have an etiquette question for Susan?  Ask it HERE.