PROTOCOL PLEASE. As I watched and listen to the hearing unfold, these are some of the etiquette practices that caught my attention. (1) There was one point person. Everyone knew who was in-charge of carrying out the agenda. (2) Every senator was allotted a certain amount of time and they honored it. (3) There were no verbal interruptions, rolling of eyes or sighing during the Q&A period, well maybe one. Everyone acted in a very civil and respectful manner.
CAN YOU HEAR ME KNOW? Former FBI Director James Comey’s hearing was what I would call “high court”. Most of us will never participate at that level of the judicial system. But did you notice there were no cell phones ringing or vibrating? Did you notice no one just “happened” to check their phone in the middle of the hearing? Did you see any of James Comey’s supporters face timing the event? Did you see any wireless jewelry around any of the senator’s neck? The answer is “N-O”, no you didn’t. The judicial system is one of our most esteemed institutions. It’s one of the most formal practices in our society. Thursday was a perfect display of hundreds of professionals who were disconnected from the world of technology for at least 2 hours. Some of us begin to shake like an addict if our phones are off for 20 minutes.
TOTAL ATTENTION How many of you caught James Comey’s body language as he accepted and answered questions? Mr.Comey turned his chair slightly (from side to side) to entertain each of the senators during their allotted time. Proper court etiquette suggests turning your upper body to face the person asking the questions. You should also turn your legs, feet and upper body to face the judge as you give your response. Giving your full attention to the decision maker is the ultimate goal.
So there you have it, Courtroom Etiquette, 101. Be punctual, be prepared and remember to address the court as “Your honor”. These simple etiquette tips will help prepare you for success when You have Your day in court.
Terry Brooks-Allen, BS
Etiquette and Image Consultant