Developing Corporate Diplomats for Your Business

Many organisational leaders are described as corporate diplomats. In terms of their communication skills, one of the defining qualities among the most successful is their ability to build sustainable relationships with diverse stakeholders and successfully meet their expectations.

Engaging and maintaining multi-stakeholder relationships in a highly competitive and complex business landscape requires skills that extend beyond traditional leadership characteristics. The path to becoming a highly effective corporate diplomat starts with some fundamental global communication skills.

Corporate diplomats are culturally competent. Cultural competence is a necessity whether you work with overseas counterparts or not. You may or may not consider yourself a global citizen but living and interacting in our increasingly multicultural communities serves to highlight that culture is not necessarily defined by country boundaries. Being able to relate to people, to communicate in a respectful manner and to have a sense of some of the defining factors that influence their motivations and needs is as useful in our personal endeavours as it is in business.

Corporate diplomats easily adapt to the business environment. Knowing the many ways to apply the appropriate business protocols in complex and diverse environments could almost be considered an art form. In reality, knowing the appropriate business protocols speaks to professionalism. In other words, how you wish to represent your personal brand and by extension that of your organisation’s requires consideration in order to maximise your chances at developing strong working relationships. Such that they will have a positive impact on your business, your network and your career. In the global context, professionalism must incorporate cultural intelligence.

Corporate diplomats display courtesy. The business world is experiencing a different approach to the way business is conducted. The interconnected nature of business and government sees a new polish and a sense of formality infiltrating meetings and events of all sizes. The level of courtesy extended is now a reflection of the official protocol rules and procedures that have, until recently, only been seen and applied at official events. At the heart of protocol is the ability to extend equal courtesy to the people we engage with. Corporate diplomats use protocol to maximise the personal attention they extend to those they deal with; a unique approach to building relationships which places the focus on the individual.

Cultural competence and business protocol knowledge need not be reserved for overseas-bound or high-ranking executives alone. The principles represented by these skills are not necessarily unique either – we all want to be understood and treated with respect and courtesy. Which makes developing the interpersonal skills of corporate diplomats even more relevant particularly as they are considered the modern currency of business development and stakeholder engagement and management.