In today's international business culture, you never know when you may meet a diplomat or need to contact one regarding business. This person may represent the United States overseas or he may be a foreign diplomat serving in the United States. In any case you need to know the proper way to address diplomats.
- Skill level:
Remember to use formal names to address diplomats at all times in public. Even spouses should remember to use "my wife" or "Mrs. Smith" rather than first names, especially in front of household staff.
Greet diplomats in person with the formal "Mr./Madam Ambassador." Alternatively you may use "Ambassador Smith" as a greeting as well.
Address salutations to letters to American diplomats "Dear Sir/Madam." Or, you can also use "Dear Mr./Madam Ambassador." Address letters to foreign diplomats as "Excellency" or "Dear Mr./Madam Ambassador."
Refer to the diplomat as an "Ambassador from the United States of America" when you make introductions. The phrase "American Ambassador" is too ambiguous because there are in actuality many American countries.
Introduce a foreign diplomat as "His/Her Excellency John/Jean Smith, the Ambassador of (ambassador's country)." If the ambassador is a Lord or Lady, include that in their title as well.
Use a greeting, handshake or other gesture of introduction for foreign diplomats that is appropriate for their country's culture. Failure to do so shows a lack of respect.
Stand to show respect for both men and women.