Three perspectives on the effectiveness of ICPA’s international protocol teaching method, which is based on behavioural science anthropological evidence.


A leading executive even said, “I have never had a course where I could feel such a tangible change in myself!”

There is a secret behind these wonderful comments: at ICPA, we do not just teach the form of international etiquette and protocol, but we also provide guidance based on scientific evidence, brain science and psychology, which is structured to ensure that the course is effective for the students.

In Japan, many protocol instructors teach only the rules, without knowing the underlying principles.

However, this only results in a period of self-satisfaction, and it is difficult to ensure that it becomes one’s own. It also leads to a simple critique of the wrong perception – “this is right, that person is wrong” – which is shallow in content.

In this article, I will discuss the international protocols based on scientific evidence from the three perspectives of people, organisation and culture.

1: People’s behaviour, thoughts and feelings are structured on a scientific basis

All courses taught by ICPA, such as International Protocol, International Etiquette, Cross Cultural Communication, Languages, etc., are based on ‘people-to-people relationships’. The objective is “what to do with the relationship” and the means “how to achieve it…”.

These studies are the ultimate ‘human studies’. People are driven by the brain. Our feelings, thoughts and actions, which we are usually not conscious of, are all directed by our brain.

And these actions and thoughts also influence the thoughts and actions of the people around them, creating a state of ‘brain influencing brain’. Therefore, by first understanding how your brain works, and then understanding your feelings, behavioural tendencies and thinking tendencies, you can find your purpose for attending the course.

For example, if you compare the purpose of meeting people in the following two situations, the brain is used differently in each situation

1: In a business meeting you need to be on top: it is sometimes good to use psychological techniques to make yourself feel superior to the other person (of course, you also need to develop trust on an equal footing).
2: On a private date you would need to get closer to the other person: use techniques to make the other person feel closer to you (of course, this also requires an important means of heart-to-heart communication).

You definitely require completely different facial expressions, standing position, handshake, voice, clothing, body language, etc.

If you do these things without thinking through them, your objectives will be blurred, you will not know what you are doing, you will be confused and there is a significant potential for failure as a result. This is why brain science and psychology are essential to the study of international Protocol, as well as to other disciplines.

2: Protocol is an essential management tool for networking

Today, there seems to be a misunderstanding of the term ‘protocol’ itself. It is not a universal etiquette, nor is it something that only noble people acquire. It is an important rope for connecting networks of people, as well as an official rule used by large organisations when they interact with each other.

Internationally, protocol management is a common part of corporate training, which is why it is often found that there is a significant difference in results between companies that have protocol management and those that do not.

For an organisation that is made up of people with different individual feelings, thoughts, behaviours, abilities and life purposes, as described in the section above, it is necessary to give them a common sense of purpose. In order to instil a unified purpose in these people, it will not only be necessary to make them follow the rules, but also to manipulate them psychologically.


3: Facilitating intercultural communication with a culture map

The first step in international protocol and intercultural communication is to understand the culture map. This is a map of your own country and your own culture and the cultures of other countries and other people. On this map, you will be able to understand the behaviours and thoughts that are necessary when moving from one country to another, and you will also be able to understand the intent of the rules that have been set based on these behaviours and thoughts.

For example, if you think about why seating arrangements exist and why a superior person is in that position, you can see that there are hidden psychological reasons. Therefore, in every situation, you will know the position you should be in to gain the upper hand, and you will also know the position you will be in to encourage the other person to trust you.

Essentially, science-based learning of protocol helps you in various scenarios.

ICPA trainings based on behavioural and learning science

ICPA’s teaching method is designed to help you complete the three steps of knowledge, habituation and practice.

The first step is behavioural science. Based on behavioural science, learning is achieved through habituation. However, humans are not usually good at changing habits. This is why all studies have shown that even if you acquire knowledge, it is difficult to turn learning into practice if you do not make action a habit. ICPA reinforces this. We believe it is important to understand existing habits and start learning habits.

Specifically, this means, for example, deciding where and what you are going to do when you get up in the morning, and taking that action every day. This can start with something simple, such as ‘every day, at this place, at this time, think about this thing’.

And it is a learning science. This is about understanding the step-by-step progression from sight and sound to perception and understanding, and the processes involved in problem-solving.

The basis of learning is the balance between input and output. The effect of outputting 1/3 of the amount of input is exactly “three steps forward, two steps back”. This means that if you do not constantly increase the amount of input, you will never be able to produce any output.

Finally, you also need to have clear objectives and goals. As the saying goes, “knowledge without purpose is the same as no knowledge without training”.

“Without training you lack knowledge, without knowledge you lack confidence, without confidence you lack victory”

Gaius Julius Caesar

It can also be scientifically shown that this ancient Roman quote is not just a proverbial example.

It means that without practice, it is the same thing as without knowledge, without knowledge, you will not have confidence, and without that confidence, you will not even have success.

So what should you do now?

First, you need to draw your own learning map.

Where you are
Where you want to go

should be drawn in a picture.

If that’s how you want to find the shortest way to achieve your goal, or if you want to know how to achieve it and get support with your training, then please come to ICPA.

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