When was the last time you had to replay a voicemail because you couldn’t understand the caller the first time around? Taking the time to try to decipher a garbled voicemail is irritating at best, and for many busy professionals, not worth the trouble. If a voicemail is difficult to understand, many professionals will simply delete it outright. A messy, unclear voicemail also makes you seem sloppy and unprofessional. Since so many busy professionals let their voicemail screen their calls for them, knowing how to leave a message that is engaging, clear, and professional is essential for maintaining professional relationships, creating new contacts, and reaching potential clients. Check out our tips below to make sure you leave voicemails that get the right results!
Clarity is Key! Clear, articulate speech is even more important over the phone when poor reception can impact the quality of a message. Take extra care to pronounce each sound, especially the consonants at the ends of words, and don’t rush your speech. You can also provide additional clarity by giving examples for letters that can be easily confused. For example “s” and “f”; “m” and “n”; and “p” and “b” can all sound alike over the phone. To avoid confusion, give example words when spelling important information. For example: “Our website is jbd.com. That’s J-B as in boy-D as in dog dot com.”
Don’t Ramble: A good rule of thumb is a voicemail message shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds. Include a brief introduction, your reason for calling, how you expect the listener to respond (i.e., Do you need them to call you back that afternoon? Will you follow up via e-mail?), and your contact information. People find voicemails that drag on and on extremely irritating, so plan out what you want to say in advance, and keep it succinct and specific.
Make Sure They Get Your Number: Take extra care when providing your phone number. Pronounce each number clearly, and pause between clusters (e.g. 212 pause 555 pause 3434). Say your phone number twice: once near the beginning of your message, and a second time at the end. This gives your listener two chances to get the information right, and if they still don’t (let’s say they need to grab a pen), it allows them to re-play only the beginning of the message to get your number without having to listen to the entire message a second time.
Want to learn more? Check in with us again next week when we’ll give you some great tips on crafting an engaging professional voicemail greeting.
If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!