Please tell us about yourself
IT WAS more than just a homecoming for Chitra Danger, when she landed in India after spending 20 years in the US. Unimaginable it might be for many who’d wonder about her decision, but equally perplexed will they be on being enlightened on her intention – to train people on “protocol intelligence and etiquette”.
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Chitra Danger has the distinction of being certified and licensed by the foremost institution in the world in the field of protocol and etiquette, The Protocol School of Washington, and she’s probably the only Indian to be so.
She has now zeroed in on Hyderabad to extend her 15 years of consulting experience. Called “ProEt Centre for International Protocol and Etiquette,” the institute will be launched in Hyderabad and will offer seminars and training to businessmen/women, corporate executives, professionals, government officials, diplomats, students and housewives.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
Chitra holds a Masters degree in Business from the Loyola University of Chicago, and not wanting to stick to a desk job for long, Chitra explored other avenues and successfully stepped into the field of protocol. “Helping people modify their behaviour and making them confident, specially at social situations is mainly my objective”, says Chitra explaining the nature of her work.
Chitra worked as protocol and etiquette consultant for some of the top hotels, retail stores, and businesses throughout the United States. She has developed several training programmes and conducted seminars for United Airlines Inc, Chicago, Illinois, the largest airline in the world.
Tell us about your work
Speaking about her experience teaching etiquette to the Americans, Chitra says “they do need social education.” Often, it is the dining skills that Chitra finds herself educating her clients on. “I tell them I’ll be training them to dine at the White house. Unlike French who are naturally `wine and champagne drinkers’, Americans are basically beer-drinkers and hence there is a need to educate them on wine drinking. Apart from that, they are often at a loss while dealing with people from China, Japan and other eastern countries. That is where the awareness of various cultures and their respective behaviours help to deal with situations, in business or at social events.”
That she’s an Indian did not come in the way at all while working with the Americans. “After some point they see beyond who you are. How I conduct myself and behave is what matters. Yes, we do have an accent, but they like it,” says Chitra laughing.
What are your plans for Hyderabad?
Chitra is highly charged about her Hyderabad venture. Obviously the first of its kind, it’s bound to generate curiosity, and the courses offered are interesting.
All the coaching session will be held on one on one basis. Some topics: Handshaking, the art of introductions, Communication styles, International dos and don’ts, pre-meeting strategies, business entertaining, host and guest duties and American, Continental and Japanese styles of dining.
Chitra plans to have her course in schools as well, for which she has sent information to the managements.
Quite impressed with the methods adopted by Chandrababu Naidu, to enforce work culture among his colleagues, Chitra says she can add her own course to their training in yoga, meditation etc. “I do hope I get to talk to the chief minister about it. He has a holistic approach toward everything,” says Chitra.
She feels helping the spouses of ministers and MLAs to tackle life in public goes a long way in developing a positive image.
With a challenging task ahead and determination to succeed, Chitra is hopeful of making a difference.