We all know that first impressions matter. Welcoming a guest means giving a warm and friendly first impression: even if you know the person/people it is still the first impression for this meeting and it’s all too easy to make someone feel unwelcome!
There are all sorts of welcomes you might make of course and welcoming a family member you have not seen for many years is very different from welcoming the head of a country… so throughout this issue we are going to focus on typical business situations and look in more detail at how to welcome the following individual guests:
- a new colleague
- a business partner you have never met before
- a VIP guest who will tour the premises
- a trusted and valued business contact
- a family member visiting you at work
What is the event?
Sometimes, there is a special event that will require you to welcome people, for example:
- your company is hosting an important event such as an awards ceremony
- a group of business students is coming to tour your offices and shadow some colleagues
- reporters want to interview your CEO and other Board Members
As we have seen, the person or event that you are involved in can vary so greatly that specifying any one particular style is not going to be appropriate for all situations. There are, however, three main styles that you may have to use when welcoming people in the business world:
And we also have some general tips to make your welcome more welcoming:
- stand up and shake hands unless there is a particular reason not to do so
- research the visitor if you can, even if all you will be doing is greeting them: ensuring that you can pronounce your guest’s name correctly helps to make that all-important good first impression, while knowing how they like their coffee will practically guarantee you a contented visitor
- switch your mobile phone to silent: having it ring just as you are about to shake hands will disturb everyone
Each guest is an individual. This may seem basic, but it is all too easy to forget this and to use the same old welcoming phrases for everyone. So, in the spirit of addressing everyone individually, we suggest the following as a start – if you can research some information about the person or group you will be welcoming in advance then of course there may well be additional details that you can add.
- the new colleague: “Hello Richard, I’m Sandy. So nice to meet you; I look forward to working with you!”
- the VIP guest: “Good morning Ms Bankoro, welcome to ABC Company. Now, before the meeting starts, let me take your coat and show you the facilities. Would you like tea, coffee or water at your seat?”
- the business contact: “Hello again Amelia, good to see you. How was your journey?”
- the family member: “Hi Jen, lovely to see you. Come on up to my office and meet my colleagues…”
Die Autorin Anita Gera ist englische Muttersprachlerin, freie Redakteurin und Business-English-Expertin.
first impression: erster Eindruck
to tour: einen Rundgang machen
to host: bewirten
to shadow: mit jdm. mitlaufen
to vary: schwanken
to ensure: versichern
to pronounce: aussprechen
to switch: schalten
to disturb: stören
in the spirit of: im Geiste von