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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Martie's Tips on How to be a Spiffy Receptionist

Before I was hired on at BerberichTrahan & Co., I had worked retail most of my life.  I knew customer service and how to make people feel welcome.  I think that trait is why they hired me with no previous office experience.   I remember when I started I was very concerned about doing a good job so I would dig through the internet trying to find pointers on how to be a good receptionist.  Now four years later I would like to extend a hand and share what I have learned in hopes of helping someone else new to reception work.  I give you….

Be Positive

No matter how bad your day is, do your best to be positive when you are working with clients.  Your problems are not their problem and your attitude will affect their entire visit to the office.  Be friendly and courteous, think of the clients as a guest in your own home.  How would you treat a guest?  Like an inconvenience or would you be a gracious host?

Smile on the Phone

If you smile while you are talking it changes the way you sound.  Smiling while you answer the phone makes you sound more inviting and gives the person on the other end a sense of ease.  Try it and see!

Candy, Candy, Candy

When I started, the front desk candy basket held just a couple of hard candies that no one wanted.  I decided to buy some chocolate and other candies that are popular.  Soon our candy bowl became a prominent feature of a client’s visit to our firm.  I paid for the candy out of pocket in the beginning but it was an investment that was well made.  Now the firm pays for the candy and sees it as a valuable way to give back to our clients.


I attended some continuing education classes and one of them covered the art of remembering names.  I put what I learned into action and found I could easily remember clients names after not seeing them for over a year.  This impressed our clients and made them feel more important to us.  The tricks I use are 1) say the person’s name aloud while meeting them, “Hello Mr. Smith, nice to meet you”.  2) think of someone or something familiar while talking to them.  When you see their face again that image will come to mind and you will remember the name.  Like meeting Mr. Conch, think of a sea shell, when you see him again, you will picture the shell and remember the name.

NO Gossip

Being in a centralized location and taking all calls to the firm, you are in the unique position to get the dirt on everyone.  Keep information to yourself, or even better, don’t even let it register with you.  Gossip does nothing but stir drama and hurt productivity.  Be professional no matter how sensational the information might be.  If it is something that would harm the firm and your supervisor should know, share with them but no one else. 

Show Some Interest

Berberich Trahan & Co. is an accounting firm.  I quickly realized I needed to learn about accounting to really understand what our people do.  I read some online articles, checked out some books and so on.   The more I learned, the more I could understand what our people needed from me to get their job done quickly and effectively.

Momma’s Gotta Be Resourceful

I am a mom at home and I have found that often I am a mini-mom to the office staff.  I help them find things that are lost, I show them how to use fax machine, and listen when they have had a bad day.  I also keep essentials in my desk like Band-Aids, cough drops, cold medicine, tissue boxes and granola bars.  It’s fun to be able to say “here, I’ve got what you need”. 

Have Fun

Be professional, but still enjoy what you do.  If you cannot have fun in your job then there is nothing to look forward to each day.  Find ways to laugh and do things that make the day more colorful for everyone.  You will be surprised how well your efforts are received. 
These guys have the right idea.  Office weaponry at it's finest!

Well I hope this helps get you started.  Just remember to find joy in everything you  do, your positive outlook will be contagious. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rambo Up

As you may know from my previous posts, I have been fighting some health issues.  I had bronchitis, a severe case of the dizzies (which still comes back every now and again), and thanks to some tests by my doctor we found out both my red and white blood cell counts were low.  Now after some hard core rounds of antibiotics, multi vitamins with high iron content and a massive improvement in my daily water intake, I am feeling much better.  I sleep better, I am more relaxed, and I am getting back to myself.   There is only one problem.  I have lost my motivation to exercise.  
It’s gone, just completely gone.  How can this happen?  I went a good three weeks lamenting the fact that I couldn’t do any kind of work out.  Just pining for the day I was better so I could get out and get back to running.  And now I sit here today with absolutely no desire to get up at all.  I just want to curl up on the couch and cocoon myself in a pile of blankets and pillows.  I want to surf the Internet or play Batman Arkham Asylum (which is totally awesome by the way).  I haven’t turned my Wii on in forever. 
The Brat Trot is officially two weeks away from today.  I HAVE to start getting ready or else I will be a complete failure.   I have managed a couple of walks over my lunch hour but the problem with that is when I return to the office I am a sweaty fat girl, no one wants to deal with that.  I have to work out at home again.
On the bright side I have continued to lose weight, just not as fast as I was before.  I have reached 226 pounds which is 39 pounds so far.  When I started at the beginning of the year I had hoped to be less than 200 pounds by June.  It is not looking like that will happen.  I could be upset with myself but I am not.  This isn’t a quick fix; this is a life style change.  And I have been successful in that aspect.  I have changed my habits for the better.  Even if the Wunder Hubby and I have what we call a “Sin Day” and allow ourselves to eat whatever we want, I just can’t take in the amount of calories I used too.  I am more conscious now of what I put into my body.  I think that is a very good thing.   But lets get back to reality here, in almost a month’s time I have only lost three pounds.  That is terrible.  That is maintaining not actually losing. It is time to get serious.  I mean really serious.  And by really serious I mean Rambo kick ass jungle serious.  It is not going to be easy, I have gotten comfortable maintaining.  But I am not to the point where maintaining is OK.  I am going to make this vow…. My next post will be a report on good behavior, hard work and hopefully some significant weight loss. 

Time to Rambo up

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tomorrow's Historians *Updated*

**Well, yesterday I did something I have never done before.  I was checking on this blog before going to bed.  I was tired, my eyes were heavy and my finger was feeling awful clicky on the mouse.  I was intending to read over this blog post to make sure no additional edits were needed before I retired for the evening.  I intended to click “view post”, what I actually clicked was “edit”.  Now in the trickery that is fate, I got super clicky in a panic and clicked publish instead of close.  In doing so I sadly deleted the post about the kids History Day project.   That woke me up in a hurry.  I franticly tried to find a way to recover the post but I had no luck, it’s gone.  So this morning I will try to recreate the post to the best of my abilities.  My apologies to the kids, their families, and my readers for being the uber dork that I am.** 
History Day students (pictured L to R): Grace, Donna, Nathan and Erinn
and History Hooray! teacher, Anne Hawkins

Look at these kids.  They are fresh faced, happy and eager to learn about history.  These kids created a display called the “American Pantry of Horrors” highlighting the importance of the Pure Food & Drug Act, the Meat Inspection Act and the creation of the FDA in the early 1900’s.  Their display shows what was sold to the public before such regulations were in place.  Two items that stand out in my mind is one, canned vegetables with copper added to make them more green and two, chocolate bars made out of chocolate paint.  Yummo. 

Well these awesome kids did such a good job that they won first place at both the district and State levels of the National History Day competition in Kansas.  (Woo Hoo!  Happy Dance!)  The kids now have a chance to compete at the national level in Washington DC.  The kids would compete with students from all 50 States, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and Europe!  The only thing that is keeping them from getting there is the need to raise $4,870.  They are now reaching out to their community asking for some help. 

So how can we help?  Why, I’m glad you asked! 


This Saturday: CiCi's Pizza will donate up to 25% of sales on May 12, to the student historians. It doesn't cost families anything extra--all you have to do is tell the cashier at CiCi's, "We're here to support the History Day Group." This opportunity is good all day and evening, in all 3 CiCi's locations (Topeka and Lawrence) this Saturday, May 12 only. To help, it's key that you tell CiCi's on May 12 that you are supporting the History Day Group; if you don't mention the group specifically, no percentage of your order will go to the kids. Thanks for considering eating pizza for this educational cause!


The History Day students and their families are hosting a multi-family Yard Sale and Bake Sale, next Saturday, May 19. Sale items include household appliances, tools, toys, and other treasures, as well as homemade pies, cookies, cupcakes, and other treats. The sale will run from 8 am-3 pm, at 1712 SW Cheyenne Road, in Topeka.


You may sponsor the History Day team directly, by donating at This PayPal Link.  Donations in any amount, from $5 and up, will be such a blessing and help to these grateful students!

These kids are doing Topeka proud and it is an honor to do what we can to get them on their way.   Thank you for all you do my dear readers, friends and family, together we are making Topeka a better place to be.

Now, to NOT delete this post………