- Check in and step away. Receptionists don't like it when clients park themselves at the front desk and chat on cell phones, says Karen Vassal, a legal receptionist in Naples, Florida. If you have to take a phone call, take it in the hall.
- Speak clearly and identify yourself. Bad cell-phone connections and speaker-phone crackles drive receptionists crazy.
- Be polite and patient. "It really makes a difference when people ask, 'How are you today?' and take the time to listen to my answer," says Jennifer Alexander, director of the National Receptionists Association, in Larchmont, New York. Sometimes there is one person fronting a busy office. When the receptionist is feeling overworked, personal recognition helps.