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How to Be A Good Receptionist

Updated on May 3, 2010
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When you're a receptionist, you encounter many different types of people and many different duties that you'll need to complete. Sometimes, along with regular receptionist/ front desk duties, other departments or employees may give you other tasks to complete.

Being a receptionist can be a catch-all job, but it's a very important job that a company needs fulfilled.

As a receptionist myself, I have by far the best office in the entire building. I have the biggest office and the one with the best amenities.

This is what I’ve got going on:

  • Flat screen TV: although it only plays whatever I ask it to play, which is only what is approved by the HR director
  • New Mac computer
  • 3 live tree plant things
  • Nice big desk with really nice office chair
  • Couch and chair
  • Floor lamp
  • 3 end tables each with desk lamps
  • 1 table with 2 chairs
  • Huge bookshelf
  • And the ONLY office with a window

How to Be a Receptionist

If you are looking at directions for how to be a good receptionist or if you just want a few tips, I can try to help. The following is what I try to take into effect while I am working each day.

People (not employees)

  • Act happy even if you are not. Remember that you are the first face that the customer, vendor, or employee sees as he/she walks through the door. You want to make a good impression, especially since it may be the person’s first impression upon the company. So, if you’re having a bad day, FAKE IT!
  • Be pleasant, and again fake it if you have to.
  • When customers or vendors walk through the door, make sure to ask their name and company so that you can relay that to whomever they are there to visit.
  • Try to keep small talk with them even if it’s about the weather, and you’ve asked everyone for the past 30 minutes how the weather is outside. Just make sure that the last person you asked, still isn’t in the front lobby.

Talking with Employees

  • If you know an employee, an employee’s child, spouse, or other family, was sick, hurt, in a confrontation, or an accident, make sure to ask them how they’re feeling the next time you see the person. The employee will appreciate you caring, even if you really don’t, you want them to think that you do.
  • If an employee went on vacation or on a trip for just the weekend, ask them how the trip went and how the weather was.
  • In the mornings, remember to say “Good morning;” in the evening remember to say, “Have a good night;” and on Friday’s, “Have a good weekend.”

Intercom System

  • Remember to say please and thank you, especially if you have to make a page over an intercom system. For examples, “Jane Doe please call extension 1234, Jane Doe please call extension 1234, thank you”
  • Oh, and it is nice to repeat things twice, just in case the first time it was missed.
  • You want to speak loudly and clearly, but don’t yell when speaking over an intercom system.


  • Remember to be polite, even if you don’t mean it. You are the face of the company, and you do not want to give a bad impression.
  • If you have to put someone one hold, check back with them after a minute, to see if they want to continue to hold, call back, or speak with a different person that may be able to assist them in the matter.
  • When answering the phone, the company you work for may have a specific saying they want you to say, but if they do not, try “Good morning (good afternoon), thank you for calling <insert business name.>”


  • Make sure that you have something to do when the phone isn't ringing and there isn't anyone walking through or hanging out in the lobby area. Bring books to read, puzzle books, paper to write or draw, etc.


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    • profile image

      Dalang pomak 6 years ago

      This is a wonderful write up,it will go a long in directing people with enthusiasm in becoming an efficient and effective receptionist.Most especially the tips about a good receptionist above.Thank you for this write up.

    • profile image

      lucy 6 years ago

      am also a receptionist n i try very hard 2 cope with the client though it is difficult i really try ma best i love those points that av been sent in the above page, keep up.

    • profile image

      Sopheara 6 years ago

      Thank you very much for ur best details of being a good receptionist.I'll learn from ur good advices.Thxs.

    • profile image

      Maque 6 years ago

      Thanks for the advise. I really appreciate these tips. I am just about to work as a receptionist. Reading this gives me a clear heads up on what to anticipate and what to do if the situation arise.

    • profile image

      Nomi Lebo 6 years ago

      I just started working in an old age home as a receptionist. i am really enjoying my job, my boss is great i feel that makes a big difference to the job. i enjoy meeting different people. i don't always know what is going on but i just imagine and try my best!

    • profile image

      lisa 6 years ago

      I just started work experence as a receptionist, im here for four weeks, after my first week i was left on my own at front desk, i have people comen in to me and i don't have clue what there on about but i think its the best way to learn, to be just trown in the deep end and get on with it! I love workin as a receptionist and i hope it will lead to bigger and better things :)

    • profile image

      Fusionjazz 7 years ago

      For efficient message taking, I type faster than handwrite. So I use the WordPad or Notepad on my desktop (shortcut icon) and type message details down then convert them to message pads or in an email to that respective party or even perhaps text message form to that executive's cell if they're out of office or in a meeting.

    • profile image

      Phillip 7 years ago

      I started my job last month and i am not very fond of it as i have to lie to people quite a lot of the time but i do not regret taking this job because at the end of it you have computer skills to do the job and it can lead you on to bigger things. people think that being a receptionist is low level of work but it isn't you are as equal as everyone else you know why? because if there was no reception nothing will be organised and the company wouldn't last seconds another reason is because all the employee's need you to help them out sometimes so really receptionist job is a very big job.

    • profile image

      LAST in line 7 years ago

      hi, i have been doing this job for 2 yrs and hate it. I work in a customer service office and take the calls that don't get answered. Many times my co-workers log off their phones and I get all the calls passed to me and I have no one signed on to take the calls. Most of the customers do not want to leave a msg, they want to talk to a body. I hate to go to the boss but this is getting old.

    • profile image


      I believe being a receptionist you are accountable to everyone in ur office and those who come to your office. Thanks for ur hub!

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      Other activities will depend on the type of company. Yes, one should always strive to be more if they want to work their way up, but there are many who just want to be a receptionist. It all depends on what you want. As for reading and drawing, again that just depends on the company as to whether you will be allowed to or not.

    • profile image

      Steve 8 years ago

      I don't think reading or drawing is something a client or even your boss would want to see even if there is downtime in the office. That's just my opinion though since I've always been discouraged from partaking in those activities.

      I was told I should always be productive in the office and find something to do even if it means learning a new skill or program that might help me later if I ever want to move up the corporate ladder.

    • profile image

      Receptionist HELP!! 8 years ago

      If anyone has any tips for me on a system to take calls. I work for trial attorneys missed one BIG message and my job is ON THE LINE if i don't come up with a different system by TODAY on how to be more efficient ZERO Toleranc have to propose it TODAY...What i usually do is keep a notebook type pad in front of me i ask all the right questions..but just missed one HUGE msg.....IF ANYONE HAS A DIFFERENT METHOD..BECAUSE I JUST MANUALLY WRITE EVERY PERSONS NAME, NUMBER INFO. RE: ETC....PLEASE HELP!!!! OCT. 21, 2009

    • Average Jane profile image

      Average Jane 9 years ago from Bay Area, California

      I think some people underestimate receptionists and look down on them - receptionists can be your friend and serve as the &quot;gatekeeper&quot; to people within the office. Great hub and I hope you share more stories! How about a hub about how to screen calls? I think this is a great topic, especially if part of your job is answering phones. A lot of sales calls and auto-dialers are getting more clever these days.

    • profile image

      Happy 1 9 years ago

      Wow you write so many hubs, and you work full time too, amazing.

      i am still getting my first hub together, probably with photos...

    • Ms Sooz profile image

      Ms Sooz 9 years ago from Northern California

      Excellent tips, thank you.