Reception Desk Etiquette

by Contributing Writer; Updated September 26, 2017
Businessmen communicating with female receptionist

If you're sitting behind a reception desk, you're the first person a visitor meets in your company. First impressions do count, and your behavior and attitude matters. You should look to make a professional and welcoming impression at all times, even if you are busy with other tasks. Remember, the visitor isn't interrupting your business, he is your business.

Greeting Visitors

Look up when someone approaches your desk and smile. If you're on a business call, make eye contact with the visitor to indicate that you see her and will be with her shortly. As soon as you've finished your phone call, focus on the visitor with a smile. Apologize for the delay and ask how you can help. Put warmth into the question so it doesn't seem offhand.

Welcoming Etiquette

Ask the visitor if he would like to have a seat while you contact the person with whom he's meeting. Depending on your company's policy, offer coffee or tea or direct the visitor to the coffee room. Offer to hang up his coat or show him where it can be hung. Call the person who will be meeting the visitor. Use Ms. or Mr. when announcing the visitor.

Personal Manner

Besides smiling, modulate your voice. Be aware that you can convey what you think by the tone of your voice. Don't chew gum, take personal phone calls or text when someone is waiting. If you're chatting to co-workers, stop and focus on the visitor. Don't eat at your desk. If you can't avoid it, choose foods that don't have a lingering aroma. In other words, no pizza or spaghetti.

Desk Appearance

Keep a clean and tidy desk, even if you have other tasks to do besides dealing with visitors. You may have piles of paper to work through, but these shouldn't be spread all over your reception area. Remember that your reception area promotes your company and should look professional -- don't overload your desk with trinkets, funny gadgets, photos or desk toys.

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