Sit tall, smile gently and keep the shoeshine kit and clothes brush at the ready, warns a protocol guide for city hosts who will be welcoming visiting dignitaries during the 2010 Games.

The guide, which was posted online by the city yesterday, provides pointers on everything from how to dress to how to shake hands. It also tells protocol staff how to negotiate embarrassing situations like informing someone that their fly is open.

Excerpts include:

• “Remember that ‘Protocol Smile.’ It ought to get larger the worse things get from your perspective. Let them think you are in complete control.”

• “Smile ‘gently’ and with sincerity. Be careful not to overdo it. False smiles can look artificial, and never-ending smiles may invite suspicion.”

• “Staring can be perceived as threatening. Try to shift your focus to other parts of the face from time to time.”

• “A neat appearance isn’t enough; you must be exemplary all the time. Others will infer qualities of your commander (city) from your appearance and behaviour.”

• “Whether speaking with one person or a group, it is rude to look around as if searching for someone ‘more important’ with whom to speak.”

Lesli Boldt, the city’s Olympic spokeswoman, said the manual was produced to aid a few dozen staff members who have been seconded to the city’s protocol team from other departments. The manual was produced in-house and the city hopes to market it, to future Olympic hosts like London and Sochi.