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Business Reception Etiquette

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In business, the receptionist is the first point of contact for customers, investors and others who walk through the door of a business. As such, receptionists make the first impression on others. To make that impression a positive one, receptionists must abide by an etiquette protocol that meets the company’s standards.


Receptionists perform a variety of administrative support functions, such as answering the phone, greeting visitors, scheduling appointments and making sure the reception area is tidy and welcoming. Receptionists are essential as the work they do could affect the success of the company.

Phone Etiquette

Receptionists should practice excellent telephone etiquette, because a large portion of their job relates to answering, screening or transferring phone calls. Receptionists must speak clearly and slowly, and should not have food, beverages or gum in their mouths while speaking to callers. When they need to place callers on hold, they should ask the callers for permission to do this. Also, before transferring a call, the receptionist should inform the caller of what she is about to do.

Communication Etiquette

Whether the receptionist is on the phone or greeting visitors in person, he should follow standard communication etiquette. For instance, receptionists should be patient with callers and visitors, no matter what the situation. Even if callers or visitors express frustration or anger, the receptionist should remain calm and patient at all times.

Dress Code

Since the receptionist is the first person to greet visitors as they come through the door, she should be well groomed and wear standard business attire. The definition of standard business attire is set by the company. For example, a corporate law firm likely will require its receptionist to wear a suit. A receptionist for a pediatric dentist, however, would be suitably dressed in tailored pants and a sweater in a bright, fun color.

Reception Area

Part of having good etiquette entails maintaining an environment that is welcoming, clean and comfortable for others. This means staff should keep the reception area neat and clean, provide magazines for visitors to read while they wait, offer guests coffee or water, and greet people appropriately.


Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.

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