How to Address Dignitaries

Updated March 23, 2017

Properly addressing dignitaries is a critical aspect of conducting yourself when in the company of distinguished individuals. Often dignitaries have worked for many years to earn their titles, and therefore, they prefer that people address them in the correct manner. The correct way to address a dignitary depends on the person's current or most recent position.

Refer to the president of the United States as the president. Use Mr. or Madam President as the method of address. Address the president's spouse as Mr. or Mrs.

Address the vice president as Mr. Vice President, and refer to him as the vice president.

Refer to a U.S. senator as Honorable Jane Smith, United States senator. Address a senator as Mr. or Madam Senator.

Address a congressional representative as Sir or Madam, and refer to The Honorable John Smith, United States congressman.

Refer to a United States ambassador as Honorable John Smith, American ambassador. Address him as Mr. Ambassador. Address an international ambassador as Her Excellency Jane Smith, ambassador of France.

Address a sitting governor as Sir or Madam, and refer to the governor as The Honorable Governor of Texas.

Refer to the mayor of your city as Honorable Jane Smith, mayor of Chicago. Address her as Mayor Smith.

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