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Ways of Not Approaching The Receptionists of Today

Updated on July 25, 2014

Getting to know the receptionist

Way back then . . .

She was babe, sweets, sugar, and hottie, oh God almighty. She knew better than to wear slacks, flats and figure-concealing sweaters. Her wardrobe of the boss’ choice was flirty skirts, fish net hose, high heels and tight blouses. And with that tempting red lipstick and eyeliner, “she” was the boss’ first line of defense against people like you, America’s “smooth and swinging salesmen.”

Skip ahead to present time . . .

She is “the” wall who separates you and a huge commission. Just one cold look, or glare from her means you might as well leave her area. Now. She doesn’t do any small talk, chit-chat, gum-snapping, eyelid fluttering, cooing like a young Marilyn Monroe. No sir.

The all-powerful receptionist


This is not the receptionist of today


Receptionists: Women of respect

She is known as the company rep, company receptionist, company client coordinator and other names of power. She doesn’t see the need to ask for respect, just her presence gets the respect she deserves. She is not intimated by men, bossy women and sexually-ignorant men who look on her as another trophy for the wall over his fireplace in his den.

Don’t expect her to schmooze, booze, or lose. At anything. She is oh so fine, totally-refined, resolved and evolved into one of the most-powerful females in the American workforce: She is the company receptionist.

She doesn’t make coffee. Run across town to give the boss’ wife an anniversary card from a forgetful boss. She is highly-skilled and trained in the art of keeping the boss from having to deal with people like you—the fast-talking, slow-thinking, male salesman who thinks with his “privates” and wallet, never considering that there are more-important people in the universe than him.

But she knows it. But never really squashes you like a rattlesnake in her path. She is a woman of power, but also grace, charm and tact. She can tell you a bold face lie to your face and you lap it up like a thirsty hunting dog—captivated by her eyelids, red lips and that halfway wink of the eye that you think is a hint that she might like you.

Don't be fooled by her smile--she is very powerful


Do not try and fool the receptionist into signing your sales contract


Male salespersons, wake up. It's 2014

Fool. You are such a gullible sap. She has taken your phone calls and lied to you every time. Why do you think she has kept her job for so long? She is trained to lie and not show it. If anything, she is a deterrent to people the boss says are a waste of his time. And he is right. You do tend to waste important people’s time with your old yarns about a farmer’s daughter and a hobo frolicking in an old barn.

Only the bosses from your male-ruled era still like you. You are their door to their past and how well they had it—patting their secretaries on the behind and sometimes taking one to lunch and then to a Blue Light Motel on interstate 75 that runs out of town. Deep down inside they are as filthy and operate with a lust for money and number of illicit affairs that gauge how much testosterone they still have.

So young “Sultans of sales,” “Princes of Perpetual Cold Calling,” here are . . .

We owe this person so much respect


Uh, oh! This receptionist is angry. Stay clear!


Typical salesperson who doesn't know about powerful receptionists

Sorry, chum. The receptionist will have to get her boss' approval


Buddy, you better learn to wait

This is the fake salesperson of yesteryear

If the receptionist is on the phone, sit down

Being pushy will not get you anywhere

One more time. This is not the receptionist of today

This hub was intended to

raise awareness about today's over-worked, under-appreciated receptionists.

And if you own your own company, have you ever considered how your company would be if you DID NOT have a receptionist to

  • Screen your calls
  • Make sure that you are not meeting with people who waste your time
  • Make sure that important clients are always put right through to you

and other important duties?

It scares me to think of this situation and I do not own a company.

So to all of the receptionists in our great country, and to those receptionists who are members of HubPages, I salute you and thank you for doing the important work that you do each day.

“The Ways That You Do Not Approach The Receptionist of Today”:

You can forget about using offensive phrases like:

  • Honey bunch
  • Hot legs
  • Sweet lips
  • Little hips

(these will get you locked-up for sexual harassment).

And you need to forget about trying to:

  • Wink
  • Seductively blink
  • Smack your lips
  • Gaze
  • Ogle
  • And Whistle if she stands up

(Yep. These too will get you reprimanded for sexual harassment).

If you are cold-calling in-person, I suggest that you relax, check a mirror if it’s handy to see if you are being yourself or a fake, take a long breath, exhale and slowly open the door (unless it’s an automatic door or revolving door) to the company you are calling on for a sale of whatever goods or services you might be hawking.

Please do not storm to her desk, chewing gum as if the gum you are chewing is the last stick of gum in the world, and just interrupt her by bellowing, “Is ‘Mr. Ledlow,’ in? I called him last week and you said he was on vacation in Ireland?” This will get your nowhere.

Clue: if the receptionist has her head down, she is busy or on her Blue Tooth. Just stand for a moment until you see that she is busy, then quietly sit down and wait until she asks if she can help you. This is called being polite and courteous.

Another clue: this is how you approach the receptionist:

You say, “Pardon me. Is ‘Mr. Ledlow in? I called him yesterday and he said to drop by today.” And say this in a mild, respectful tone keeping eye-contact with the receptionist.

Odds are, the result will be positive. But if your approach is anything less than this suggestion, you can expect:

  • “Oh, he is still in Ireland. You may leave your name and number.”
  • “He was in this morning, but his pedigree goat passed away.”
  • “Sir, a sudden new project came to his attention and he will be busy for the next two weeks.”
  • “And you are whom?”

So it pays to approach the receptionist with respect and courtesy.

You may ask this question, “But Ken, I own my own company, so how I dress to meet a new clinet does not matter. Right?”

Answer: Wrong.

It matters as much as the earth shifting on its axis. Well, maybe not that much, but if you are interested in your company experiencing growth and prosperity . . .

You will not wear:

  • Hawaiian shirt with open front.
  • Loud musky cologne that would kill mosquitoes if put into an aerosol can.
  • Tons of gold chains and rings on every finger.
  • Cheap sunglasses that you do not take off when talking to the receptionist—if you get that far.
  • Sandals with no socks.

Any modern-day receptionist will tag you a macho pig and create numerous excuses for you not to see her boss.

May I suggest that you wear:

  • A nice suit. I didn’t say a specially-designed, hand-sewn suit made in Italy, but a nice suit.
  • No gold chains or rings.
  • Florsheim shoes with socks.
  • Pleated pants
  • No loud cologne. Just a mild-scented cologne that she will remember, not to make her hot for you, but “that” one detail that she will remember about your appearance.

If you must contact a new company by phone, these are not the ways for you to talk to the receptionist:

  • “Lemme tawk with ‘Le bossman.’”
  • “Hey, is that jackass-of-a-boss there? (loud laugh) do not fret sweetie. We graduated college together. We are closer than blood-brothers.”
  • “Can you patch me through to your boss and do not tell me that he is busy.”
  • “Oh, your voice sounds so sexy. Do you look as good as you sound?”

These are three verbal failures, so do yourself a favor and delete them from your vocabulary.

Use these ways to approach the receptionist by phone:

  • “Pardon me. I will not take long, but is ‘Mr. Williams in today?”
  • “I know you are very busy, but may I talk with ‘Mr. Williams,’ please?”
  • “My name is, ‘Henry Duke. I represent Allied Machinery. I am calling to see if ‘Mr. Henson,’ is in his office?”
  • “Hello. How are you? My name is ‘Tom Dickery,’ I sell for Ultimate Software. I wanted to talk with ‘Mr. King,’ if possible.”

See? All of these are polite and pushy. Note: When any receptionist allows you to talk with the person you are seeking, remember to say, “thank you so much,” for she will remember it if you don’t.

How to Handle Rejection From Receptionists (In-person or On The Phone):

  • If she says, “Oops, I forgot to tell ‘Mr. Clark,’ you were coming,” you instantly smile and say, “No sweat. We all make mistakes.”
  • If she says, “I thought your appointment was “next” Monday. Not today,” again, you instantly smile and say, “No problem. May I reschedule with your boss?”
  • If she says, “He doesn’t do business with little companies like yours,” you keep yourself composed and reply humbly, “I don’t blame him, but in our case, we are growing. Maybe next time.”
  • Above All, Do Not:
  • Stamp your foot and growl underneath your breath.
  • Glare at her as if your eyes were space-age ray guns that do damage.
  • Take a deep breath of disgust.
  • Curse at being rejected.
  • Throw your briefcase against the wall and curse underneath your breath.

Self-image and attitude is what it’s all about.

The old saying, “Nice guys finish last, but they finish,” is still in play in 2014 in the fast-paced business world.

Coming soon . . .”How to Successfully Communicate With Auto Mechanics”

Always be nice to this person



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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Homeplace Series,

      Thank you, my friend. I appreciate your comment, friendship, wisdom and following.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, sheilamyers,

      Thanks a million for taking time to read my hub and I agree with you that SOME men and a few females, need to respect all receptionists because they are not just there to be gazed at like a centerfold.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you for your input to this hub. Yes, you can see yourself as an important cog in the wheel of office machinery.

      You could even feel as if you are THE most-important employee. What is the boss going to do, answer his own phone and do meet and greets?

      No. No boss does this.

      So be proud.

      And visit with me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      I didn't know that you were a receptionist. Kudo's to you. You have a tough, demanding job. I have met my share of nice receptionists and those who the boss instructed to lie to me--in my short career of selling radio time.

      This one time I saw the boss in his office just sitting here. He even spoke to me, but going by protocol, I asked his receptionist to allow me to see him.

      She said that he was not in. I looked stunned. Then to not be misunderstood, I told her his name. She held to her story.

      I gave in to temptation and said, "I have just seen him in his office."

      She told me she would check and this was less than 10 feet away. I saw her standing in the doorway shaking and nodding her head.

      Then the lie: "He said that he wasn't in," so that did it.

      He even called my general manager and said I was hateful and aggressive.

      And the general mgr. took HIS side after me, with tears in my eyes, telling her the truth.

      I knew then that she had that dangerous "love of money." And I wasn't cut out to work there.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      You are very sweet to leave me such a nice comment. I hope that being polite is not a dying artform.

      Visit with me anytime.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      There is a large element of truth here. Being polite will get you in a lot more places than being disrespectful. Nice work.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      4 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      Receptionist has been my field for years. Thanks for the tips on how too treat us hard working people.

    • sarah mcgraw profile image

      Sarah Mcgraw 

      4 years ago

      wow.... I have never took it that way.. ;)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I love the way you write with humor yet throw in the lessons about how to interact with people with respect and dignity. I know receptionists have jobs that can be stressful and frustrating enough without all of the added hassles. Hopefully, many people will read this and take the advice to heart and start treating the receptionists with the respect they deserve.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      For sure! ;-)


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