Be the Best Professional Guest

Office Receptionist

Setting a tone of professionalism is important when you’re being "professional."  This includes how you show up; not just in self-presentation, but in attitude.  

When you visit an office, business or workplace, you’ll communicate right away who your hosts are dealing with through your body language, greeting, and whether or not you blend in with the corporate culture of the office.

A professional guest leaves no stone unturned.  You've done your homework and know in detail where you are going, how you will get there, with whom you are meeting, and when you should arrive.

Making an Entrance

The people at the front line of most offices have more power than you may think.  The receptionist, clerk, or assistant absolutely takes note of your cooperation skills when you are asked to sign in and/or wait.

Your regard for the company policy on visitors is part of the first impression you make as a professional guest.  Whether you are selling something or an employee visiting another company location, always remember that the impression you give at the front desk flows throughout the organization!

And don't think your job title or position makes you immune to a negative impression at this level of your visit.  Quite the opposite.  If you are a VIP at the place you are visiting, you will know it immediately.  But if the person at the front line doesn't recognize you and asks you to sign in, friendliness and cooperation could be your golden ticket.

Protocol for Professional Guests

A true professional guest maintains mindfulness and respect for the work environment and people encountered during a visit.  Wear an attitude of equality.  Every person you meet is worthy of consideration and courtesy.

  • Remember names.  When making connections and networking, you will always make someone feel important when you remember his name.
  • Smile and shake hands.  Whether you've met your contacts before or are seeing them for the first time, this standard greeting always makes a good impression.
  • Introduce yourself and others.  You may assume the person you are visiting knows who you are because you are on her calendar, but still introduce yourself and others with you.  This is another standard protocol that makes a good impression as it cements your level of professionalism.
  • Maintain formal address.  If you're meeting with Stanley Banks, address him as "Mr. Banks" until you are asked to call him by another name.  When he introduces himself as Stanley, or says, "Please call me Stan," then you may drop the formality.
  • Sit only when invited to.  You may be visiting a place of business, but it is still your host's territory.  Remain respectful of this by standing until you are asked to take a seat.
  • Make small talk 100% positive and friendly.  This is a good way to connect and show your human side.  And it can set the tone for the remainder of the meeting. 
  • Be mindful of time.  Others are busy, and while your visit is important, it is only one part of their day. 
  • Follow cues.  When you are truly present and mindful, you know when someone is interested and enjoying your company, or if you should take your leave immediately.

Muddling Through

If you happen to be the victim of an unfriendly reception, or inexperienced hosts, do the best you can do.  Always remain friendly and respectful.  After all, you are only visiting.

There is hope that your professionalism will be an example to them.

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