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How to be a great receptionist

Being a pretty good receptionist is easy. You're basically a low-tech security guard in nice clothes. Sit at the desk and make sure that visitors don't steal the furniture or go behind the magic door unescorted.

But what if you wanted to be a great receptionist?

I'd start with understanding that in addition to keeping unescorted guests away from the magic door, a receptionist can have a huge impact on the marketing of an organization. If someone is visiting your office, they've come for a reason. To sell something, to buy something, to interview or be interviewed. No matter what, there's some sort of negotiation involved. If the receptionist can change the mindset of the guest, good things happen (or, if it goes poorly, bad things).

Think the job acceptance rate goes up if the first impression is a memorable one? Think the tax auditor might be a little more friendly if her greeting was cheerful?

So, a great receptionist starts by acting like Vice President, Reception. I'd argue for a small budget to be spent on a bowl of M&Ms or the occasional Heath Bar for a grumpy visitor. If you wanted to be really amazing, how about baking a batch of cookies every few days? I'd ask the entire organization for updates as to who is coming in each day... "Welcome Mr. Mitchell. How was your flight in from Tucson?"

Is there a TV in reception? Why not hook up some old Three Stooges DVDs?

Why do I need to ask where to find the men's room? Perhaps you could have a little sign.

And in the downtime between visitors, what a great chance to surf the web for recent positive news about your company. You can print it out in a little binder that I can read while I'm waiting. Or consider the idea of creating a collage of local organizations your fellow employees have helped with their volunteer work.

One amazing receptionist I met specialized in giving sotto voce commentary on the person you were going to meet. She'd tell you inside dope that would make you feel prepared before you walked in. "Did you know that Don had a new grandchild enter the family last week? She's adorable. Her name is Betty."

In addition to greeting guests, internal marketing can be a focus as well. Every single employee who passes your desk on the way in can learn something about a fellow worker--if you're willing to spend the time to do it, they'll spend the time to read it.

Either that, or you could just work on being grumpy and barking, "name and ID please."


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How to be a great receptionist:

» "How to be a Great Receptionist" from Accountants Round Up
By Seth Godin: Being a pretty good receptionist is easy. You're basically a low-tech security guard in nice clothes. Sit at the desk and make sure that visitors don't steal the furniture or go behind the magic door unescorted. But [Read More]

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Everyone in the business world can learn a lot from the sports world. Here's an example: At the Mother's Day Cincinnati Reds and LA Dodgers game, a loyal Dodger's loudmouth (i.e., fan who heckles players and sometimes other fans) was giving it to Ken G... [Read More]

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» Wow, I Had An Idea the Day Before Seth Godin from College Marketing 4.0
Yesterday, I wrote a post inviting business to give people warm chocolate chip cookies or something similar. Today, Seth Godin said the same thing. AWESOME...I'm growing up in the world Comparable for me to the time 3 months ago when [Read More]

» Rewarding and Retaining a Great Receptionist (or don't be afraid to pay a job what its worth to you) from Compensation Force
Seth Godin's blog has an insightful post on how to be a great receptionist. Let me offer my own version of this lesson, because I think it has some important implications for compensation design and management, and let's call it [Read More]

» Как стать превосходным секретарем приемной from Как продать
Автор: Сет Годин оригинал статьиот 15 мая 2007 г. Быть неплохим секретарем приемной легко. В основном, вы выступаете в качестве ненавязчивог... [Read More]

» being a remarkable receptionist... from Organized Chaos
Interesting and amazing thoughts from Seth Godin on being a great receptionist. In the office, I am the significantly-overpaid receptionist since I sit right behind the office manager who also doubles as a office receptionist since she's nearest to the [Read More]

» Why You Should Hire the Three Stooges from Escape Adulthood
If youre new to this blog, heres what its all about. You may also want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Its pretty easy (and profitable) to add a little childlike spirit to any job. Ive touched on thi... [Read More]

» Receptionists can make or break the day from LawBiz Blog
A receptionist can cause great damage to a law firm! Or, a receptionist can be a shining light that clients look forward to talking to when they call. Such goodwill cannot be purchased! Such a staff-client is one of the... [Read More]

» Reception Ideas from Golden Practices
I've written before about the experience of doing business with you. A few more great points and ideas are found on Seth Godin's blog this week. He writes: If the receptionist can change the mindset of the guest, good things happen (or, if it goes poor... [Read More]

» talent and mediocrity: marginally subversive thought of the day from Organized Chaos
I have been told and taught that talent is one of the critical pillars of any company - that includes the receptionist (which Seth Godin wrote about in his blog) and way up to the boardroom. That's (probably) also the [Read More]

» Additional Thoughts on the Receptionist from Client Service for Law Firms
Take a look at Michelle Golden's thoughts on reception ideas (she is pulling from Seth Godin's blog post). Both posts are outstanding. I've walked in to my fair share of offices where the receptionist looked and acted unhappy. I couldn't... [Read More]

» Pass this one on to your Office Ambassador from Retirement Plan Success
That's your receptionist. The first contact your visitor will have at your office. It's the person who makes the initial impression about your firm - and about you - good or bad. Think about how good you've felt going into... [Read More]

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