The Bodyguard’s Rules of Etiquette

By Doc Rogers

As bodyguards we attend ceremonies and social events this article provides basic guidance on protocol matters.  Bodyguards who know proper protocol can provide better protective coverage to their clients and feel more comfortable within the environment no matter the type of forum they are attending.

First rule of business, prior to the function during your advance phase you should make contact with the event’s protocol manger and inspect the venue. Ask the protocol manger any questions you are not sure of (attire, parking arrangements, formal seating plans, foreign dignitaries in attendance, other bodyguard personnel attending the function, etc.).

While bodyguarding your client at ceremonies and social events to be successful and blend into the surrounding you need a combination of set rules to include courtesy, rules of etiquette and common sense. Many high-level clients attend official luncheons or dinners, usually given in honor of a politician (senator, mayor, congressman, etc.).  Second rule of business make sure you bring you and your client’s official invitations, this is critical or you don’t get into the function. Normally your client should receive the invitations about three weeks prior to a gathering.

Third rule of business know what to wear. Most official invitations will include a written dress specification of either “informal” or “formal”. The definition of informal means casual dress; open collars and sport shirts for male bodyguards and casual dress, slacks, blouse or skirts for female bodyguards. The definition of formal attire for male bodyguards means black tie or tuxedo and female bodyguards usually should wear an evening or cocktail dress.

Upon entering the ceremony or social event you and your client will be given a name tag and a “YASA” (you are seated at) and will be seated at a table with pre-set place cards and a specific seats. Fourth rule of business sit in your designated seat. Another important rule; get acquainted with the table setting beforehand.

Your table may include the following silverware: a teaspoon, place knife, place fork, salad and dessert fork, a butter knife, a soup spoon, a cocktail or seafood fork, demitasse spoon, iced beverage spoon and steak knife (most bodyguards are only intimately familiar with the steak knife). There will also be serving dishes and various sized plates for different purposes.

If you don’t know which utensil or plate to use, carefully observe what the other guests doing. Fifth rule of business never start eating until each person at the table have been served and the hostess begins. While eating always use your best dining etiquette and do not:

•    Place your elbows on the table.
•    Squash or mix your food on the plate.
•    Soak your bread into gravy or sauces.
•    Place napkin on the table (place it on your chair).

During these ceremonies and social events alcohol (wine and champagne) is free flowing and there may be a number of toasts in honor of various dignitaries and special guests before, during and after the meal.  Bodyguards on duty never consume alcohol of course, while performing their official duties. If participating in toasts bodyguards should toast with wine and only touch the glass to their lips. However, generally it’s best not to get involved with toasting if possible.

Normally after the meal bodyguards quietly take a position on the sidelines within close proximity to the client’s table without drawing attention. By following these basic protocol guidelines you’ll make a good impression at ceremonies and social events while bodyguarding your client in a low-profile but first-rate manner. Keep safe and God speed.

  • Alonzo Gomez

    Great article: I learned a lot form that one. Now I’d like to know where you found this picture of my partner!? 😉

  • Alonzo, lol… very nice. Photo is from Big Stock Photo

  • Peter Stanojkovic

    as always Doc!…

  • Jader Adam Avalos

    very good, and good to know all this steps….
    thank you……… Doc

  • Thanks so much for the kind comments, it means a lot to me that you enjoyed the article. Hucky: I cracked-up when I saw the photo… perfect! Keep Safe and All the Best. Doc

  • Doc, you know the old saying. A picture is worth a 1000 words, and unfortunately I have seen individuals that have had a very similar etiquette when working in detail with the client.

  • Alonzo Gomez

    It does look like too many people I know, I’m sorry to say… The pic cracked me up and I knew right away what the entry would be about. Thumbs up!

  • Mando

    Good info, the photo is awesome!

  • Six

    Doc,as always thanks for your contribution and thoroughness you are a true compliment to our industry.

  • Dear Six: you are soon kind to say that. It means a lot. Keep Safe, Doc

  • Huck got a question am I being a prude. When im on duty I”never sit with the client at any function I usually during the advance work look for an eyeball spot to work from and stand a three step distance from my client after walking in with them. Should I sit and be a part of the activities? I think the people who hire me and the guest respect my seriousness more when im not fraternizing but just my way of doing things. Would like some feedback on this one.

  • Hi Gambino: No you are not being a prude. You are doing the right thing. Sitting at another table or standing on the sidelines is the preferred method of EP. This article for the uncommon times when you are required to sit at the client table. Keep Safe and All the Best.

  • FaithVawont

    Great article,
    But as a female interested in being a EP, wouldn’t it better to be in a pant suit than a dress for ease of movement in case of an incident?
    Just thought I would ask

  • Dear Faith: Yes, for female agents a pantsuit would be ideal. However, at some of these very formal functions, you need to follow the dress code and dress the part. Keep safe.

  • Alonzo Gomez

    It’s easier for men, but we also have to make choices based on the dress code for a given assignment. Try packing even a PPK in a tux at a black tie event. Or worse, I was once told to put on a bathing suit when a certain client’s kids wanted to go for a swim… lol

  • FaithVawont

    Alonzo: nice story,
    Doc: thanks for the advice Doc

  • bill ney

    You really get high paying jobs with that grammar? seriously? you’re a joke.