Technology has changed the way we do business, allowing business owners, companies and organizations to host more meetings virtually. There are still times when we need to have a face to face meeting to truly establish rapport and confirm this is someone I want to do business with. With less face to face meetings, we have begun to lose our in-person hosting skills which can impact first impressions.
In my last article, First Impressions – Welcome To My Workplace, I shared a few strategies to help you prepare for guests that will be meeting you at your place of work. But what do you do once they actually arrive at the office? Here are five strategies you can use to help break the ice and have your guest ready to do business with you.
1. Greet your guests as soon as they arrive. People like to be acknowledged as soon as they walk in the door. If you keep them waiting they may begin to think you do not value their time. Greet them by name and ask if they need anything before you start. If they have never been to your office before, you can offer to show them around.
2. Advise them of any changes in the agenda. If any meetings or events have been delayed or changed let your guests know as soon as possible. They may need to rearrange their schedule or have to notify someone on their team of the change. Also telling them ahead of time instead of the last minute, they appreciate knowing what to expect.
3. Sweat the small talk. As your guest is getting settled, be prepared to talk before the real meetings begin. You want to avoid the awkward silence that can occur. Listen to what they say or don’t say as they may offer ways to make the visit go more smoothly. You may find they need a few minutes to prepare or they want to start working immediately.
4. Introduce your guest to key people. This small strategy can benefit your guest and your team. By taking time to introduce key players on your team, they feel important and acknowledged. Your guest will get know exactly who they will be working with and how they fit into the organization.
5. Offer refreshments. If you followed the suggestions in my first article, you would have asked if there were any dietary concerns before the visit. You will know exactly what to offer your guest. Sharing food helps people to feel friendlier towards each other. Depending on the time of day, you can plan a breakfast or lunch with the team. You can go out to a local restaurant or have something catered. If the time isn’t just right for a meal, offer a glass of water or coffee or tea with light refreshments. Do be sure if your guest eats, you eat something as well. You do not want them to feel out of place eating alone.
Now that your guest feels welcomed, it’s time for business. By preparing ahead of time by doing just a few small things, you have established a rapport that will make them feel comfortable. As for sealing the deal, that part is up to you! But I have a feeling, you won’t have any problem with that…