It’s National Receptionists’ Day today. Originally started in the US in 1991, it is now recognised in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Receptionists are seen as the welcoming voice and face of an organisation, greeting all visitors, answering calls and generally ensuring everyone’s day runs smoothly. It’s a job I’ve held myself so I know there are many skills needed to thrive (or even just survive!) behind the reception desk and to mark this years’ National Receptionists’ Day we thought we’d have a look at just some of these skills, demonstrated by some well-known and well-loved fictional receptionists:
Patience and a good sense of humour – Pam and Dawn – The Office
Whether you prefer the US or the original UK version, receptionists Pam and Dawn both had a few challenges to deal with, not least of which being their bosses David Brent /Michael Scott. They demonstrated a wonderful mix of never-ending patience (can you imagine working day in and day out with Dwight and/or Gareth?) and the ability to keep a smile on their face.
Keeping calm in an emergency! – Janine Melnitz – Ghostbusters
Who you gonna call? Janine Melnitz!
With everyone encouraged to phone you whenever they see something strange in their neighbourhood we would imagine being secretary and receptionist to the Ghostbusters would certainly ensure you need a particularly calm telephone manner and the ability to spot a real emergency.
Know your company – Amanda Tanen – Ugly Betty
Amanda loves Mode Magazine and fashion; she knows everyone involved and would certainly be able to spot the VIP visitors or callers. Her style is undoubtedly unique but to be fair it does accurately reflect much of the wider company culture. You would definitely get to know the kind of business you were dealing with after your first interaction with Amanda and she’ll always know where all her colleagues are….. and what they’ve been up to!
Make things better – Doralee Rhodes – 9 to 5
Secretary and receptionist Doralee had some serious issues to deal with, the biggest problem was of course her horrid and crooked boss Mr Franklin M. Hart Jr. Ever optimistic and determined to make things better, Doralee worked with her colleagues to help bring in much needed improvements to the company. Actually kidnapping and nearly poisoning the boss is not the standard recommended approach to process improvement but we’re sure you get the idea.
Be confident – Karen Walker – Will and Grace
Okay so perhaps Karen didn’t demonstrate many (or any) of the ideal receptionist behaviours, but you can’t deny she oozed confidence and self-belief, important skills in a role where you never quite know what the next call might be about, where you can often bear the brunt of complaints or complex queries and have to act as a gatekeeper against persistent sales staff. We’re pretty sure if Karen ever actually got round to answering the phone she wouldn’t stand for any of that nonsense!
Anyone we’ve missed?
Let us know if there’s a famous receptionist we missed and what made them so great at their job (or at least entertaining to watch!).
Happy National Receptionists’ Day!
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