Leave a Message, Leave an Impression

I have a love-hate relationship with voicemail. It means that I don’t always have to take a call, but it also means that when I dial in to get the message I may be about to encounter voicemail hell. You may be familiar with these demons:

The Ghost. “Hey, it’s Mike. Call me.” Mike who? Call you at what number about what? Delete.

The Speed Demon. “Heyit’sMikecallmeassoonasyoucanit’surgent!” Head. Spinning.

The Snail. “Hey, um, it’s Mike. Glad we talked last about [insert lengthy recap of a discussion you were present for]. I wanted to get some more details about [insert lengthy details about what details are desired].” BEEP! Voicemail full. *yawn*

The Last Minute Rush. “Hey, it’s Mike. Good to talk to you last week. I’d like to get some more details, though. Call me at [blazes through phone number so fast you can only get the first digit].” Beats head on desk.

The very worst offender is The Snail-Last Minute Rush combo. Yikes!

Leaving a voicemail should be a simple task, but it seems that many people just don’t know how it should be done. A good voicemail has all the pertinent details left in a manner that is both clear and respectful of everyone’s time. Here’s an example of a First Class voicemail.

“Hey, it’s Mike Jones, 123-456-7890. Thanks for going over invoice #12345 with me yesterday. I have another question about item #15. Please give me a call at 123-456-7890 when you get a chance. Have a great one!”

As long as this voicemail is left at a reasonable speed, it’s absolutely perfect. It clearly states who is calling and the phone number right off the bat as most people are poised to take notes when they are listening to a message. The phone number is then repeated at the end so the recipient can double check what they wrote down. (If I’m calling someone I don’t know or rarely speak to I’ll repeat my name at the end as well.)

The detail is specific enough to allow adequate research to be done prior to returning the call. This avoids wasting everyone’s time during the call back as one person has to dig through files or emails looking for something that could have been done beforehand. It also ends with a well-wishing, just to make sure everyone knows you’re not angry…even if you are.

If the whole world started leaving messages like this it would spare countless hours of wasted time and frustration. When you leave a voicemail it isn’t just a message about what you want, it’s a message about who you are. Do you want to be known as vague, annoying or disrespectful? I’d much prefer to have a reputation for being clear, respectful and precise. Don’t be a voicemail demon…leave a message with class!

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