Stop Rushing Your Voicemail Messages

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Stop Rushing Your Voicemail Messages

I try hard not to always be sitting at my desk all day. It doesn't always work, but when it does, it results in a lot of voicemails.

This has led me to put a little more thought into the right way to leave a voicemail message than you may think is necessary. My biggest gripe with the way most people leave voicemails are that they rush through them like it's a nuisance, instead of taking some time to think about the person on the receiving end. I'm not talking about calling your buddy on the weekend to figure out what time you're meeting up to go to a game or calling your husband to tell him you'll be home a little late from work. I'm talking about calling a vendor or a client or even a potential client on their office line or a cell phone where they don't have your phone number stored and readily available.

Most of the voicemails I receive, I have to listen to more than once. Mostly because the person took a lot of time explaining why they were calling, but then sped through the most important details of the call: Who they are and how I can reach them back. Now I have to listen to your entire 30-second-long message again just to get to the last three seconds that include your barely audible phone number so I can grab the last four digits ... if I can make out any of them at all.

My rule of thumb when I'm leaving a voicemail is to repeat my name at least twice in the message if it's someone that doesn't know me well (or at all), slowly and clearly. My name in particular is difficult for people to make out on the phone so a good rule of thumb for you parents-to-be looking for baby names is to make sure the last letter of the first name and first letter of the last name are not the same (I go by Chris - Chris Searles is hard to make out without an audible pause between the two). At the end of my message (give the person time to grab a pen and paper just in case) I give my phone number - slowly and clearly. Then, I repeat my name and my number - s l o w l y.

Usually, it goes something like this: "Hi ______, my name is Chris    Searles, ... Please give me a call at ___-___-____. Again, my name is Chris    Searles, and my phone number is ___-___-____."

The extra effort will not go unnoticed.

Photo: Flickr | Matthias Ripp

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