By Colleen Harding
The RNC is two months away. Committees are meeting regularly and construction for improvement is covering our downtown. Are we ready to host this event? When I say “host,” I mean are we ready to be sensitive to the different cultures and traditions that will be visiting our town? Here are some differences to consider:
- California is a very diverse state. It is considered a more casual state at times because of its laid-back beach communities, and it is home to the surfing enthusiast. It has a significant Mexican presence that enhances many food and dining selections. California is perceived to be a more liberal state and is home to many prestigious universities. California is the fourth-largest producer of wine and the home of Napa Valley. California produces 90 percent of the wine in the United States. How will we host an individual that is used to this kind of lifestyle in our town?
- Georgia is a southern state with southern values. They are stereotyped for their good manners and for being highly religious. They move at a slower pace at times, enjoying good company and a relaxing environment. They are known for their southern cuisine and proud of “southern hospitality.” They are known for their seafood, cornbread, peaches, grits, fried chicken, and barbeque (which is stellar pulled pork). They have a significant respect for women and the older generations. How will we make them feel comfortable in our town?
- Colorado is known for its amazing geography and active lifestyles. Twenty five percent of the state does not claim any religious affiliation. They also have a strong Mexican population and enjoy the Mexican restaurants throughout the state. They have the lowest obesity rate in the nation and are known for their outdoor activities. How will we make these people feel welcome in our city?
- New York is close to us but is still very diverse. Upstate New York is significantly different then New York City.
The point is that we will be hosting a large number of people from many different areas and regions. We need to think about what needs to be done to make our guests feel comfortable and welcomed in our town. If they enjoy our city, they may return. It is everyone’s responsibility to facilitate this politeness. It is my hope that we realize that the RNC is more than a convention. It is an opportunity to promote our hospitality and encourage tourism for the future.
Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. She can be reached at (216) 970-5889 and email@example.com.