We’re not exactly receptionists when we come to a meeting, but that’s what we become when we welcome guests. Seth Godin suggests the importance of our behavior in a great post at his blog, How 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?
Moments of Truth advises that “First impressions are important to club success because guests’ positive experiences and observations determine whether they will return and become members,” and it goes on to ask us to evaluate whether we
- Greet each guest at the door. Introduce the guest to officers and members.
- Give each guest a name tag. Ask the guest to sign the guest book.
- Set up a professional-looking meeting room.
- Ensure the meeting location is conveniently located, accessible, and the meeting room is clearly marked.
- Encourage guests to participate in the meeting and to comment on their experience at the end.
- Invite guests to join the club on the day they visit.
Yes, we need to make sure that we do all those things now and continue to do them, and I think we need to do more. If you were shopping for a new club, a new opportunity in communications and leadership training, would receiving a name tag or being shown a professional-looking meeting room be enough of a basis for your choice? Seth Godin suggests a few of the ways receptionists can present themselves. Why not spend a little time thinking about the ways Brinker Toastmasters can represent itself well? We’ll talk about those ideas in a meeting soon.