Speaking Protocol

Event Planning and Protocol
Speaking Protocol Okanagan College

Speaking Protocol

Determining who should participate at an event, who should speak and in what order is a complicated undertaking, but the primary goal should always be to keep the program focused and interesting. Make sure there are clear messages that can be understood and appreciated by the audience.


The size of the announcement may be a factor in determining who is asked to speak, but there are many other factors such as:
  • How important is the announcement or event to Okanagan College priorities?
  • How formal is the event?
  • Is there significant political interest?
  • Who does it impact? (the region, the institution, staff, students etc.)
  • Will media be in attendance?

Possible Key Players and appropriate contacts

Who will speak?

The President or his designate will represent Okanagan College at public events of significance, especially those that have pan institutional implications. 

The Board Chair or his designate may be called upon to speak when the event or issue pertains to a matter of governance or areas that are wholly the purview of the Board (tuition, budget etc) or when it involves major initiatives or areas of special interest to the Board.

The President of the Okanagan College Foundation or his designate may speak when the Foundation receives a donation, makes a significant contribution to a project, at the launch of a campaign, an appeal for donations, or when Foundation-provided bursaries and awards are being distributed. The Foundation President will focus his or her remarks on the role of the Foundation and will not represent Okanagan College.

What will they say?

For any event requiring the attendance and participation of the President, a Board Member, or if a speaker is going to require help developing their speech, the Public Affairs Office and the President's Office will require a briefing note two weeks in advance that answers the following questions:

  • Nature of event (funding, program development, cultural, student-focused, community-focused, celebration of success, awards, alumni-related, employee-related, facility opening or project launch).
  • Approximate dates, times and locations for event (provide as many as possible) and any deadlines that must be respected
  • Other key players who are likely to be involved
  • Approximate anticipated audience numbers and makeup
  • Source of any funding involved in event

Speaking Order

Once you have determined who will speak the next important step is to determine the order in which they will speak. This will mainly be influenced by the nature of the event. At a funding announcement, for example, having the funder’s representative speak first to make the announcement allows others (President, Foundation Board President, students, etc.) to respond and thank the funder. In the event of a ribbon-cutting, however, it may make sense to follow a reverse ascendancy (see Order of Precedence below).

At any event organized by Okanagan College or the Foundation, the Board Chair, Education Council Chair, Board members, Foundation President, and Okanagan College President should be acknowledged if they are in attendance. Unless otherwise determined, attendees will be acknowledged according to the Order of Precedence.

Okanagan College Order of Precedence

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