Did you know that in both personal and business calling, a call is likely to go to voice mail 50-67% of the time? That means that knowing how to leave the perfect voice mail—one that speaks of your professionalism and basic etiquette—is a valuable skill to practice. Here are our Top Ten Tips for leaving the perfect voice mail on an answering machine:
- Think. The odds are in favor of your phone call being picked up by a machine, so before you call, prepare. How can you leave your message in 2 or 3 short, clear sentences? Be prepared before you dial.
- Say Hey. Depending on where in the country you live, your customary greeting may vary, but don’t skip the happy hello. Start with a bright tone and a simple greeting—Good morning, Hi, Hello Again.
- Speak S L O W L Y. And clearly. Spell if your name or company title is difficult. Remember that many voice machines can garble a message, so do you best to counter that with clarity and good enunciation. If you think you’re exaggerating your pronunciation, you’re probably just right.
- Self-Identify. Before launching into the reason for your call, give your name and the name of the company you represent. Leave your phone number up front (don’t forget the area code), so that if you get cut off, the recipient will still be able to call you back.
- Date Yourself. Give the date and time of call, so nobody has to go
back through old messages to determine if yours is still accurate and timely.
- Manage the Message. If you’ve thought in advance, this will be easier. Leave the reason for your call, and make it as short as possible. You’ve got to beat the beep, so brevity is key.
- Politely Prompt. Ask nicely for a return call. If it’s time sensitive, say so: I’m hoping you’ll call me back by the end of the business day.
- Specify Your Schedule. If you’re going to be out of the office for an hour or a day, say so. No sense playing phone tag.
- Repeat. Briefly state your name and company again, and repeat your contact information. That way, if your recipient missed the number the first time, he or she can get it without having to hit the replay button.
- Sign Off Sweetly. Be sure to end on that positive note you began with. Keep your tone upbeat, saying things like Thank you in advance for your attention, I look forward to talking with you, or even, Have a nice day.
Let us know how it goes with you.
Challenge: Record yourself leaving a message, and then play it back. How do you measure up?