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Consul Leslie Slote over at Consul-at-Arms has an excellent post on Manners of Substance. A “must read” especially if you’re just starting out in the FS or if you are managing ELOs in your section. Quick excerpts below:
On INVOCATIONS & BENEDICTIONS
Show some respect. I don’t care what your personal religion is or what you think the Bill of Rights says about not respecting religions (that’s not actually what it says, look it up); if the bishop or chaplain or shamen says “Let us pray” (or the local equivalent, then you’ve got to show that you respect your hosts.
On NATIONAL ANTHYMS
Learn to recognize them, both our own and that of the host country. No one will expect you to sing the local national anthym (it’s not yours, after all), but you should recognize it and show respect when it’s being played or sung.
If someone is giving a speech, turn your fool cell phone to vibrate only. People will understand if you pull out your phone and look at it, even get up and head towards and exit. After all, diplomats can get genuinely emergent calls at any time and no one should get bent out of shape. But if the prime minister’s speech is interrupted by the American vice consul’s cell phone everyone is going to remember it.
Yes, lots of local guests will fail to heed this and their cell phones will ring and they may or may not be embarrassed. Don’t worry about them; worry about you. And worry about your reputation.
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You really should read the whole thing here. In addition to the cited references by Consul-at-Arms, Diplopundit has put together additional protocol items listed below that you might find useful.