Receiving visitors and small talk

A) Language - Study the language below and then practice the conversations.

When you work at reception you need to possess a variety of skills: receiving visitors, making them feel comfortable, referring them to the right department, etc.
You should be able to deal with all kinds of callers. Visitors can be very insistent (volhoudend) to the point of rudeness (onbeleefdheid) and beyond.
Dealing with such callers requires tact and patience (geduld).
When meeting people for the first time, often the first words after the introduction are the most difficult.
Usually there is a short period of social conversation, small talk. A good tactic is to ask questions.
Why? Well, most people like talking about themselves; it is easier for you to listen; and finally, you may learn something useful!
However, any questions you ask must be of a general nature, which your visitor can easily answer.

Listen and repeat

Inquiring after appointments
Who do you want to see?
Who did you wish to see?
Do you have an appointment?

Dealing with visitors without an appointment
I’m afraid he can’t see you without an appointment.
I’m sorry, I can’t let you see him unless you have arranged a meeting.
Perhaps you’d like to speak with his assistant, sir?
I’m sorry, but I have my instructions.
Mr Powell is a very busy man, you see.
He did ask me not to disturb him.
I’m afraid she isn’t available at the moment.
I’ll phone and check if he can see you now.
It’s very nice of you to see me at such short notice.
Fortunately, I found a taxi straight away.
People are very helpful here.
I really like this office. Have you worked here long?

Showing visitors to the appropriate office
I’ll show you to his office.
I’d better take you there.
Walk this way, please.
Would you like to come with me?

Receiving a visitor to your office
Would you like some coffee
I don’t think you’ve met …/ Can I present …?
This is …/ May I introduce … ?/ I’d like to introduce
Here’s my card. Visitekaartje aanbieden
Please call me …/ You can call me …
Voorstellen om te tutoyeren (elkaar bij de voornaam noemen

Telling visitors they can go in
Very well, I’ll tell him you’re here.
Yes, Mrs van Kraanen is expecting you.
You can go straight in/up.
Miss Palmer will see you now.

Asking visitors to wait / conducting small talk
I’m afraid he’s seeing a client at the moment. It won’t be long.
Would you mind waiting for a moment?
She will be with you in a moment.
She’ll be here/back in a minute.
I’m expecting her back any moment now.
Would you like to have a look at these brochures while you’re waiting?
Would you like to take a seat?
Would you like something to drink?
Did you have a good trip?
Did you have a good crossing?
Is this your first visit? What do you think of the city?
Where are you staying?
How long are you planning to stay?
Which part of England are you from?
You found us without too much difficulty, then?
Perhaps you’d like to freshen up a bit first?
How do you like Holland so far?
Sorry to keep you waiting. I got held up.
Sorry I’m late. I hope it’s not inconvenient.

Small Talk over achtergrond
What part of America are you from?
Are you from here? / Where are you from?
Where do you live? / Whereabouts is that?

Small Talk over het bezoek
Have you been here before?
Boston is an interesting city

Small Talk over uitgaan
Shall we have a look around? Shall we …?
Perhaps we could have some lunch.
Would you like to join us for dinner?

I got held up in traffic/in a traffic-jam (vast in de file)
The roads are very busy/calm (wegen zijn erg druk/…)

The weather / sports
It’s rather cold for this time of year, isn’t it?
Isn’t this weather just awful? (Wat een vies weertje, vindt u niet?)
I’m afraid we’re in for rain. (Ik ben bang dat we regen krijgen.)
They’re expecting a warm summer. (Ze verwachten een warme zomer.)
It has been raining for a few days now. (Het regent nu al een paar dagen)
How is the weather in England? (Wat voor weer is het in Engeland?)
Do you like sports?
Do you play tennis yourself?
It wasn’t a good match, I thought. They won deservedly.

B) Pairwork. Listen to the following conversations and practice them with a partner.

1. (A) is an employee at reception; (B) a client visiting the company.

(A) middag - groet binnenkomende dame
(B) groet terug - zeg dat je een afspraak hebt met mevr. Sumrey om half twee
(A) vraag of zij mevr. Edwards is
(B) nee, Edmunds
(A) verontschuldig je voor foute naam
(B) geeft niets
(A) Mevr. Sumrey verwacht haar al - vraag of (B) weet waar het kantoor is
(B) trap op - vijfde deur links, toch
(A) zeg dat dit correct is

2. (A) is an employee at reception; (B) a visitor.

(A) groet bezoeker - vraag hoe je van dienst kunt zijn
(B) zeg dat je iemand van de Marketing afdeling wil spreken
(A) vraag of hij/zij afspraak heeft
(B) ontken - vraag of dat een probleem is
(A) ontken - vraag waar het over gaat
(B) zeg dat het over de nieuwste reclamecampagne gaat (advertising campaign)
(A) verwijs naar reclameafdeling (then you should go to the ... ) - naar de heer Adams
(B) vraag of je de heer Adams nu kunt spreken
(A) zeg dat je dit even nagaat - vraag naam bezoeker
(B) geef naam
(A) bel Adams op en leg situatie uit …- spreek bezoeker weer aan en zeg dat Adams nu een half uurtje tijd heeft
(B) zeg dat een half uurtje genoeg is - vraag waar dhr. Adams te vinden is
(A) zeg dat je hem/haar wel even voorgaat
(B) bedank

3. (A) is an employee at reception; (B) a client visiting the company.

(A) ochtend - groet dame
(B) groet terug en stel jezelf voor - zeg dat je een afspraak hebt om tien uur met mevr. Lyon
(A) controleer afsprakenboek (diary) - zeg dat dit correct is - maar mevr. Lyon is nog niet terug van de tandarts
(B) bied aan om andere afspraak te maken
(A) niet nodig - mevr. Lyon kan elk ogenblik terugkomen - bied stoel aan
(B) accepteer en bedank
(A) vraag of je jas aan kunt nemen - bied koffie aan
(B) geef jas - sla koffie af
(A) vraag of zij de krant wil lezen terwijl ze wacht
(B) neem aanbod enthousiast aan
(A) overhandig krant
(B) bedank