Have you ever called a colleague or client and left a voicemail only to wait and wait and never get a response? If you find this happens to you regularly, you may unknowingly be a “bad voicemailer”! Voicemails have become a standard part of business communication. Many people are too busy during the work day to answer phone calls. Others use their voicemail as a way to screen incoming calls, returning only the ones that they feel are important. Learning to leave a voicemail message that is effective and clear is crucial to maintaining professional connections.
The perfect voicemail message is short enough to not be a burden to your listener, yet contains all the information necessary for your caller to understand your intent. Striking this balance and leaving a voicemail that is both brief and informative can be tricky. A good rule of thumb is to keep your message under 30 seconds. Within this time there are certain key elements you need to include: an introduction, your reason for calling, how you would like the listener to respond (e.g. do you need them to call you back within 24 hours? would an e-mail response suffice?), and contact information. This may seem like a lot of information for such a short time, but with a little forethought, you can easily condense this information in a way that is both professional and clear.
Before making an important phone call, plan in advance what you will say if you have to leave a voicemail. Say it out loud once or twice to make sure that it isn’t too long and contains all the necessary information. This rehearsal may seem silly, but it will allow you to sound smoother and more confident in your delivery.
Check in again next week for more tips on leaving a professional voicemail message that gets results!
What are your voicemail pet peeves? What makes the difference between a voicemail that gets a response and one that gets deleted outright? Join the conversation in our comments section below!
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