Course Outcomes

This course for receptionists and other staff at the front desk will:

  • Give clear guidelines for presenting a professional image.
  • Provide tips related to improving productivity.
  • Suggest tactics for communicating with ease over the telephone and in person.
  • Offer guidance for dealing with surprises that occur at the front desk.
  • Outline best practices for staying safe at the front desk.

Course Overview

Several phone lines are ringing, lights on the phone are blinking, coworkers are asking questions, and here comes a customer or client. How does the person manning the front desk of an office or business handle several people simultaneously with professionalism and poise? This fast-paced course is specifically designed to answer this and other important questions for those who work as an organization’s first-impression representative at the front desk. In addition to learning the elements of effective verbal and visual communication, participants will find out how to expertly satisfy even the most demanding and difficult visitors without jeopardizing their health or safety.

Note: We offer a similar program in an online instructor-led virtual format called Front Desk Fundamentals: Professionalism and Productivity for Receptionists, Security Guards, and Other Workplace Gatekeepers.

Program Objectives

At the program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the components of a professional image at the front desk.
  • Identify front-desk targets and actions for hitting them.
  • Describe 21 front-desk failures and the BRICK model for avoiding them.
  • Explain the importance of noticing and reporting slow processes, redundant steps, and unclear information.
  • Manage telephone communication: greetings, holds, transfers, messages, and screening.
  • Describe steps for addressing five challenging call types.
  • Demonstrate positive body language.
  • Recognize nonverbal signs of agitation, anger, and irritation.
  • Outline basic front-desk safety guidelines.
  • Avoid trigger words and phrases.
  • Implement strategies for dealing politely and successfully with discourteous, demanding, or dissatisfied visitors.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Best Foot Forward: Features of a Professional Image

In this introductory discussion, participants will discuss the components that make for a first-class impression. Using an array of visual examples, the facilitator will help participants discover both obvious and subtle signals front-desk employees give before saying a single word when encountering others. By examining the outward signs of those with a polished presence, they will have a better sense of steps they can take immediately to create a professional image for themselves and their organization.

One Step Back: What Will Ruin the Image

In this part of the workshop, participants will learn the behaviors and habits that can destroy not only their image but that of their organization. They will see how body language, mannerisms, appearance, and personal grooming considerations can enhance or destroy their credibility. Also, they will see the physical space they occupy at work is an important part of their image that should not be neglected. We will also discuss techniques and tools for clearing and organizing desk space, managing paper, and maintaining a professional environment. 

Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Taking and Making Calls like a Pro

As important as it is to project professionalism in person, it is just as important to do so over the telephone. In this seminar segment, participants will learn how to convey a positive image over the phone by using appropriate greetings that are warm and welcoming. They will find out ways to put callers on hold politely and learn alternatives to keeping them on hold indefinitely. The facilitator will also share strategies for taking messages quickly and accurately, transferring calls with ease and grace, and ending calls with overly talkative callers without appearing abrupt or rude.

Beyond Words: What the Body Says

Posture, arm placement, hand gestures, and facial features speak volumes even when people are silent. Being aware of their own body signals and knowing how to “read” those that others send will contribute to both improved personal image and better customer service. In this portion of the workshop, participants will complete their discussion of communication techniques by learning how to interpret body language in themselves and others. 

Security Concerns: Staying Safe at the Front

The front desk is just that, the front. In this part of the program, we will explore the importance of being not only courteous but cautious too. During this segment, we will talk about security, surprises, and what to do if the unexpected should occur.

Grace Under Pressure: Handling Difficult People with Diplomacy and Tact

The mark of true professionalism in front-desk representatives is their ability to deal effectively with problematic visitors without losing patience or dignity. Remaining professional with those who don’t return the courtesy requires special skill and remarkable self-control. At this point in the program, we will explore tactful, polite, and safe ways for handling visitors who have no appointments, those who are angry and impatient, those who hover and other characters that present a challenge. 

By the conclusion of this interactive program, participants should have a better grasp of the skills and behaviors they should exhibit to run a friendly, efficient, and safe front desk.