Try this: the next time you have lunch planned with a friend, have him meet you at your office.  Put him on your calendar.  But don’t tell anyone who he is or why he’s there.

Then, when you sit down with him, ask him what it felt like to be a new visitor to your place of work.

How long does he wait at reception?  Does the receptionist pass him to another person before getting to talk to you?  Is he attended to quickly or does he wait for a while?  Did people say hello to him?  Was he brought to your desk or to a conference room?  Did the experience make him feel welcomed, excited, intimidated, put off?  Does your office feel active and buzzing or empty and quiet?

How was he left feeling before your “meeting” even started?  And how does this compare to how you’d like someone to feel before / during / after a meeting?

Here’s how this often works:

  • You arrive and say who you’re there to meet
  • A receptionist call an assistant
  • You wait a bit
  • The assistant comes to greet you and takes you to an empty room
  • You’re offered something to drink
  • You wait a bit
  • The drink arrives
  • You wait a bit
  • The meeting starts
  • (elapsed time: 5-10 minutes if all goes smoothly)

This particular sequence of events might be fine if you want to make a very specific impression (namely, we’re big and established).  But if the impression you’re after is “nimble, cutting edge organization” consider re-imagining the whole shebang.

Maybe something along the lines of: person arrives, they’re walked straight to your desk.

The advantage you have against the big guys is that you’re NOT them.  In which case acting just like them (because that’s how they do it) is a huge miss.

One thought on “Hello!

  1. Neat observation ! First impressions are insightful. I have encountered too many situations where guests are ignored and left helpless to fend for themselves – what does that say about the office culture 🙂

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