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Re: All protocols observed

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on December 18, 2010 at 08:28

In Reply to: All protocols observed posted by Fran on December 17, 2010 at 09:59:

: I would like to know the meaning, the origin and how the following phrase should be used:

: 'all protocols observed'

That's interesting. Having always lived in the UK, it was utterly unfamiliar to me, and I had to Google to find examples of its use. Judging by the contexts I found it in (Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda) it appears to be an African way of starting a formal speech. Now, traditionally the correct protocol for starting a formal speech is by addressing everyone in your audience in order of precedence, e.g. "Your Excellency, Minister, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen". In these and other African countries it is apparently now customary to start instead with: "Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocols observed". Thus the phrase means something like: "You know who you all are, just take it as read that I have listed you as corrrect protocol dictates, OK?"

Presumably the phrase originated as a way of avoiding listing your hearers in order of precedence - either because you don't know everyone there, or don't know the correct order, or because there is some dispute over who has precedence and you don't want to commit yourself.

In any country where it is now accepted as the correct way of starting a speech, it should be used to start a speech. But not anywhere else!
(VSD)