FORMS OF ADDRESS IN VERBAL COMMUNICATION ADDRESSING ANOTHER PERSON

Dr. Lord James Godfred Owusu, Ambassador of Kingdom of New Atlantis to Ghana

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The correct way of addressing another person is to call. 

The most important title held by them + their last name.

For example, when meeting the president of a company, Mr. Bolton, you will address him as President Bolton.

Formal diplomacy in particular, but also the institutional or corporate one, implies that you should never adress officials using their first names. The form of address should be based on the titles they hold until you are invited to speak differently.

If the person whom you are addressing is accompanied by a wife/ husband, you will address the wife/husband as Mr. /Mrs. Bolton.

When talking to Ambassadors directly, the form of address is always:

Your Excellency.

Special rules apply to US ambassadors who are addressed either as Mr./ Madam Ambassador or simply by title and last name: Ambassador Haley. Only if you are asked to or if it is an old friendship, you can address an ambassador by the first name, and that only if you are not in public.

A former ambassador retains the title of ambassador even after completing the mission in this position. In French-speaking countries, they also address the wife of an ambassador with the formulation of Madam Ambassador.

Those of lower rank than ambassador will be called with the formulation Mr.,Ms. or Mrs. if their marital status is known.

In case of addressing personalities with high positions in the state or religious leaders, special attention will be given to the knowledge and use of the correct titles and formulas of address, the mistakes, in this case, being very poorly received.

In the case of royalty, if you about to meet a member of Royal family, the chief of protocol of that Royal house will share with you any mandatory protocol.

Nevertheless, for the purpose of this lesson, you should know that for an Emperor or King the form of address is that of

        Sir.

For the Queen, the form of address is that of

Your Majesty or Ma’am

Pronounced with a short ‘a,as in ‘jam;

In indirect addressing and writing, the complete formula is Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain; For salutation in a letter, you’d use instead of the common Dear Madam… Your Majesty.

For Prince and Princess, you you will use by case: if he/ she is sovereign Prince/Princess of a state

Direct: Your Serene Highness

Indirect: His/ Her Serene Highness (abbreviation HSH).

Example:His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, if he/she is descended of a King

Direct: Your Royal Highness

Indirect: His/Her Royal Highness (abbreviation HSH)

Example: Prince George, the great-grandchild of the Queen has the title of His Royal Highness. When a Prince has another title such as that of Duke, then the formal address will also mention that title. Eg. Prince Williams complete form of address is His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge.

His Wife’s title is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge.

Never Princess Catherine.

If he/she is a descended of an Emperor rather than a King.

Direct: Your Imperial Highness

Indirect: His/Her Imperial Highness (abbreviation HIH)

Today, the style has mainly fallen from use, except the the Imperial House of Japan where it is still applicable. The complete form of address, in this case, is: His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan.

If he is the son of an Emperor or King

Your Imperial Highness or His Royal Highness.

In the letter, the form of address for the above would be, Your Serene Highness, Your Imperial Highness, Your Royal Highness.

For Foreign dignitaries other than US officials having the functions of President of State, Head of Government, Minister, Ambassador, the introductory formula of Your Excellency is still used Direct and writing.

However, the current tendency is that in the case of high dignitaries- President of the state, the Prime minister- no other addressing formula is added than the title, precisely to emphasize the weight of the position held (e.g. You can address the Prime Minister of UK as either Your Excellency or simply Prime minister) A former Prime minister would be

The Right Honourable Theresa May, Prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 2018 to 2019. A British Prime minister is The Right Honourable for life.

By Dr. Lord James Godfred Owusu, Ambassador of Kingdom of New Atlantis to Ghana.

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