Archive for the ‘VISITORS’ Category


January 7, 2010


            If a visitor to your office becomes irate, you must do all you can to maintain good will. One of the best ways to avoid becoming defensive is to remember that unless you are the one whose actions created the problem, the visitor’s remarks are not about you. Be attentive; listen carefully until the visitor has finished talking. The problem may not appear significant to you, but to the visitor it is important; otherwise, he or she would not be upset. Remain noncommittal; do not tell the visitor you believe he or she has a right to be angry. Do not argue, emphasize the problem, or make caustic remarks, even though you may believe the visitor is wrong.

            After you have listened to what the visitor has to say, you may know how the problem can be resolved. For example, you may suggest that the person talk with your supervisor or someone else, leave a message, or take some other action. If you know what the person simply wanted to express his or her views, you can usually placate the person by sincerely asking “What would you like for me to do?” In many instances, the visitor will respond with “Nothing this time, but…”

            Occasionally, visitors may be inquisitive and ask personal questions. You may indicate you don’t know the answer, give a vague answer, counter with a question, or suggest that the questions be asked during the meeting with the executive or in some other department.

            Some of the types of questions that may be asked and some possible responses are given in the following examples:

Question:          “How many units (of some product) did you sell last month?”


Answers:          “I have not seen the sales figures for April.”

Question:          “Isn’t your company planning to lay off several employees?”


Answer:            “Mr. O’Hern hasn’t discussed any reduction with me.”

            The previous responses are not particularly subtle and even though the questions should not have been asked, the visitor may be offended or embarrassed. Thus, as suggested earlier in the chapter, you should continue with your work and not provide the opportunity for questions of these types to be asked.



January 7, 2010


         If the visitor has not been in your office or met the executive, you should lead the way to the executive’s office and make the proper introduction. You should then close the door and return to your desk unless you believe the executive may want you to assist in some other way. The executive may, for example, ask you to get coffee.

            Many executives prefer to come to the secretary’s office and greet the visitor. In this situation, the executive and the visitor frequently introduce themselves. Visitors may be uncomfortable when they are told that “Mr. Jones’ office is the third door on the left. You may go right in.” the caller may not know whether he or she should knock and may interpret the executive’s “Come in” response as somewhat impersonal.



January 7, 2010



         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.