Youll look sickeningly cute I Keep appropriate space between you and your customer

Around four feet is good, unless you're being pushy for a sale in which case make it a little more

I Keep in mind the status balance. Buyers are always considered higher in status than sellers It doesn't mean you have to grovel, but your body language should reflect that fact Receptionists who look pompous or high on themselves will annoy the hell out of a customer Look confident and in control, but never stand more upright or look more relaxed than your customer Avoid basic status displays, too, like hands on hips, too much eye contact, or a puffed chest

I Illustrate your instructions with your gestures. If you're working at a hotel desk or reception, you'll already be aware that people take stupid pills before they walk into the building We can't take directions and we're terribly bad at listening to instructions Tell us our room is on the left and we'll go to the right Say "second floor" and we'll take the elevator to the fourth And you don't even want to see us struggling with the lighting and the electric coffee maker or the shower once we get into the room . Never patronize, but remember that by miming how to place that plastic card in the door lock or how we should turn right once we get out of the elevator we're much less likely to come back and ask for more help

I Stand, don't sit. I hate reception desks with a very deep loathing They're outmoded, outdated, and they need to be reinvented . When you go to a posh hotel or a large, ritzy company, you have to line up at them in exactly the same way that you have to line up at the post office One major company has just introduced the idea of hosting a lobby rather than having the reception desk setup, and I'm breathless in admiration Walking to approach a visitor is miles better than making them line up at a desk

I Keep your computer in its place. Never let it get above its station It's the customer that counts, not some uppity screen and keyboard combo Never have your eyes fixed to your screen when your customer is about

I Never overly lower your status . Customers like to be dealt with by someone who looks confident, knowledgeable, and in control of their area Looking nervous or groveling won't work I If you deal with a complaint or an irate client, use a technique called matching and pacing to influence them to calm down Telling people to be calm will only make their anger turn into rage Instead, make sure your body language mirrors some of their distress to enable you to reach some stage of empathy This means you apply an expression of concern to your face via a slight raising of the eyebrows, a subtle lean forward, and a posture that says you're ready to help sort their problem out If their pace of movement is fast, then yours should speed up a little If they're using dramatic gestures, then yours should be a little bit bigger . Listen to their problem then start to bring them down by defusing their anger rather than intensifying it Mirror—pace—lead Slightly copy, then become slowly calmer yourself and they should take your lead and become less irate I When you're using mirroring to create rapport or empathy always take your lead from the customer . If they look cheery or chatty, follow suit . If they're quieter or more formal, formalize your own body language Never go for the push Pushing is when you try to change their state regardless of their own feelings Has this ever happened to you? You're walking along the high street and a charity solicitor approaches being cheeky and persistent You push your way past and into your bank Inside they've strung up balloons and a perky greeter asks in a sing-song voice what she can do for you today This type of approach is called scorched earth, and it takes no heed of the customer's mood or feelings I Having said that, I do feel it's vital, even in brief transactions, for you to "make the customers' day. " Connect but don't overdo it Smile, display friendly body language, and have a very brief friendly word with them Be sympathetic if it's raining or crack a small joke if they're looking cheerful Often it's the very smallest transactions that make someone's day worthwhile

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