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Receptionist Skills

Puja Lalwani
What kind of skills is a receptionist expected to possess? Why are these skills so important? Find out here.
For a long time, a receptionist's job has been undermined and viewed as mundane without much of a challenge.
However, this is a wrong perception. A receptionist is someone who is the first representative of any organization. She/he is the first person you see when you walk through the door to anyone.
It is she/he who guides you in the right direction, and helps you resolve any queries or complaints be it personally or on the phone. The perception of the nail-filing and television watching receptionist is highly misleading, and a receptionist has a lot of responsibilities that need to be fulfilled, before she/he gets the time to spend like this.
Those who are receptionists or are aspiring to start of their career as one should keep in mind that there are certain specific skills that they are required to possess. There are several of these skills that have been explained in detail here, and those that will help you perform much better at your job. Take a look.

Skills of a Good Receptionist

Every person who aspires to be a receptionist or is one is not born with the skills necessary for the job. These are those that are derived from experience, which is why working under someone who can give it to you is a great idea.
When you get the necessary exposure to an environment that demands these skills of you, you automatically begin developing them. The following list will give you and idea of what is expected of you as a receptionist.

Excellent Personality

Since you are the first representative of the organization a visitor sees when she/he walks through the door, you must exude a strong personality that is charming, confident, and bright.
In order to do so, certain important measures to follow include:
  • Dressing professionally
  • Radiating confidence so that a visitor is convinced after speaking to you
  • Maintaining a friendly but professional body language
  • Making an excellent first impression and maintaining it throughout your interaction with the visitor
  • Exhibiting a confident tone of voice

Necessary Telephone Skills

Apart from personally meeting people, your job is also to entertain them on the phone. To do so, you must have excellent:
  • Voice modulation skills
  • The ability to handle telephonic complaints diplomatically by determining the tone of voice of the caller
  • The knowledge of screening the appropriate calls
  • The understanding of whom the call should be transferred to if necessary
  • The necessary technical skills to operate high-end telephonic equipment

Outstanding Communication Skills

Communication skills are a little different from telephonic skills. These require you to fulfill the following:
  • Communicating the right information in clear, comprehensible terms
  • Collecting and passing on messages accurately without any chances of miscommunication
  • Listening as accurately as communicating
  • Diplomatically but firmly communicating any 'harsh' messages to callers

Exceptional Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills include how you interact with individuals such as customers personally. These skills include:
  • Receive visitors professionally
  • Build a strong rapport with visitors
  • Deal with difficult situations or people diplomatically
  • Have the presence of mind to appropriately respond to visitor complaints
  • Decipher tone of voice or body language to understand how to deal with a visitor
  • Help customers make appropriate choices
  • Build and maintaining customer relations

Stupendous Organizational Skills

Organizational skills are imperative for a receptionist. Apart from greeting or handling phone calls, you have to manage certain administrative and other duties that require organizational skills.
As such, as a receptionist you are expected to have skills regarding:
  • Appropriately filing important documents and maintaining records
  • Organizing office supplies so that they are easily accessible
  • Planning for daily tasks and activities
  • Managing time and pressure so as to reduce stress levels and chances of burnout

Imperative Technological Skills

The sound knowledge of technology is important; and based on the kind of organization you are working for, the requirement for your technological skills may vary.
However, there are some basic skills that you should possess. These include:
  • Basic knowledge of MS Office software
  • The ability to use the Internet to check and respond to mails, etc.
  • Knowledge of specific company-related software
Believe it or not, there are several certificate courses that enable a receptionist to learn and develop these skills. Perhaps signing up for a good one may indeed help you in the long run. These courses give you real-time exposure so that you learn the basics of the job.
Moreover, they help you tackle a variety of issues that you may not always be exposed to, but will be prepared for should they arise in the near future. Whether you decide to learn the aforementioned skills by enrolling for a course, or whether you decide to develop them through experience and sheer hard work is your call.
The bottom line, however, is that you should focus on possessing them to perform your job to the best of your ability.