In many companies, a receptionist has a desk near the front entrance and greets all visitors. The visitor may be asked to sign a guest register and indicate the person he or she would like to see, or the receptionist may ask the visitor for the information. When you are expecting an important client or someone who deserves or expects special attention, you should always notify the receptionist prior to the time of the appointment. In some companies, the receptionist is given a list of all appointment.

            The receptionist may direct the visitor to the appropriate office or notify the office that a visitor is waiting.

            If the executive’s office cannot be seen from the reception area and the visitor has never been to your office, you should go to the reception area and greet the visitor by saying something such as “Good morning, Mr. Mueller. I’m Ruth Hutchinson, Mr. Richmond’s secretary.” You are not expected to initiate a handshake; but if the visitor extends his or her hand, you must shake hands. If the passageway is wide, walk beside the visitor; otherwise, lead the way by walking slightly in front of the visitor.

            If the company does not have a receptionist and the visitor comes directly to your office, you should give him or her your complete attention. Even if you are talking on the telephone, you can smile and perhaps motion for the person to be seated. If you anticipate the telephone conversation will be lengthy, you should offer to return the call or interrupt long enough to assist the office visitor.

            Smile, be pleasant, appear alert, and let all that you say and do make the visitor feel welcome. Each visitor should be greeted with “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.” When you know the name of the visitor, you should include it in the greeting. You are not expected to stand, shake hands, or tell the visitor your name; however, you should have a nameplate on the desk. The greeting is followed be whatever is appropriate.

            Your desk should be well-organized. Although you may perform many different tasks during the day, you can do only one or two things at a time. You should have facilities available to conveniently store the material on which you are not working. A cluttered desk does not give the caller the impression you are well-organized and efficient.

            Try to keep the noise level low. If you need to use a particularly noisy machine, perhaps the task can be postponed until the visitor has left.

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