Q: I'm giving a big party for my entire department at work. My friend says I should enlist substitute greeters to help out. Is this a good...

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Q: I’m giving a big party for my entire department at work. My friend says I should enlist substitute greeters to help out. Is this a good idea and, if so, just what does a substitute greeter do?

A: Substitute greeters can be found most often at company parties when there are more people than the host can easily greet at the door. Having greeters is a good idea because it makes everyone feel welcome and part of the event.

The job of the substitute greeter is to introduce the guests to others and to integrate that guest into the room. The substitute greets the guest with a handshake: “Hello, I’m Kate Mason. Thanks for coming.”

She learns who the guest is and then says something like, “Come along and meet our host, Pam Gates.” Then: “Pam Gates, this is Steve Ashton, the architect on the Fairview Project.”

Then: “Mr. Ashton (or Steve, depending on the casualness of the party), you might want to chat with so-and-so, who is going to be working closely with the project.”

Or: “The bar and the buffet are just over this way.”

It probably is not possible — and certainly not necessary — to introduce the newcomer to everyone at the party. Introduce him to the closest person in the group, saying his or her name first and then naming others in the group or asking them to introduce themselves.

A greeter’s job is very important and requires much of the same homework as the host’s. It requires going over the guest list to be sure you know how to pronounce everyone’s name correctly. It also requires learning a nugget of information about each guest so you can help start conversations that will ease him into the party.

And while the host has a greeter’s assistance at the party’s beginning, a good host makes the rounds during the party, greeting everyone and thanking him or her for being there.

Mary Mitchell is a Seattle-based corporate trainer and author. E-mail questions to Mary@themitchell.org. Sorry, no personal replies.