Meet guests with a smile
by Alla Nadezhkina
Modern trends of the building of strategic communications force commercial and government organization have to be more open. One of the way of implement their PR tasks is to give people opportunity to see the work of the organization from inside. Today organizations are willing to spend time and energy on it to tell you about myself arranging excursions around the office showing and telling visitors about the features of their work. In February I visited Mexico as a participant of Hubert Humphrey program. There were more than 20 people from 19 countries and we visited different organizations during two days. We met with Chairman Nunez of the Tohono O’ogham Tribal Nation; Sheriff Tony Estrada (santa Cruz County Sheriff); Cauahtemoc “Temo” Galindo, Mayor of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico (Santa Cruz County Complex); Daniel Hernandez from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Santa Cruz County Complex & Border Fence; San Juan Bosco Migrant Shelter, and also we had a tours of General Electric Maquila and Media Outlet El Nuevo Dia. We were met with a smile everywhere, spoke in detail about the working process and answered all the questions including provocative. As before I worked in the press service of the news agency and often conducted tours by myself, including international, I’d like to formulate a simple rules that you should do if guests come to your office.
- The number of guests should be no more than 15-20 people. It is necessary to learn about the composition of the participants in advance and in the case if the group is too large divide it into several parts. Do not lead a large crowd of people at the office, all those who came should hear what the speaker says.
- Welcome speech from the CEO or head of department always increases the significance of the event, the guests realize that they have been expected here. General greeting to the group can make CEO and after that pass the responsibility to the employee who leads the tour.
- Conduct a tour should be experienced employee. Do not leave the freshman hold the tour because of you do not have spare time for this. The guide should be a good storyteller, he should know the organization from inside and has to be ready to answer all the questions.
- The tour should not exceed more than 40 minutes no matter is it interesting or not. After the tour if you have questions from the visitors you can organize a small round table. Always remember about tour schedule. Do not delay the guests but also you do not need to hurry.
- Badges with the names and positions of tour participants must have the host as well as visitors.
It is necessary that the host represents by himself but it is not mandatory of representation of all the guests. Usually it looks much better when one person represents the whole group placing the necessary emphasis.
Group looks more organized if the coordinator ensures the order among the participants and looks after they are not lost and wandered in the office. Therefore the entire responsibility for the participants’ behavior during the tour lies on the person who leds the group.
- It’d better to proclaim all restrictions before excursions will start justifying why it is necessary.
- Most organizations do not want their office to be photographed. In this case you need to ask to remove the camera and explain in advance why it is necessary. Whatever the reasons are you don’t have to give concessions to the visitors to make any pictures during the tour. If the ban was proclaimed you will be able to forward existing pictures by e-mail.
- Do not be afraid of provocative questions. For example, during the visit to the Mexican newspaper’s office one of the visitor asked the tour manager about his attitude to current American policy towards Mexico. Laughing and a long pause – there was the first reaction of the speaker. You don’t be afraid of difficult questions. Often people happy to hear just a general answer.
The tour should start with a smile and good mood. If the guests have been expected they feel it at once. But if you were obliged to lead a tour remember that the people who came to you don’t want to distract you from your work. Try to get the maximum benefit from the visit, be sure there is a person in a group who can be useful for you in the future. And there is any handouts, please share with guests.