Last night I received a voicemail that was over two minutes long… and I still don’t know what the caller wanted! I know I need to work on patience, but long, rambling voicemails frustrate me. I know I have also phone-rambled as well – especially when I’m driving (another bad habit I’m working on) but I try to leave helpful, concise voicemails.
Here’s my "rule of 5" for voicemail – imparted to me years ago by Sensei Kuras… thanks Sensei!
- Say your name and number at the beginning! Sometimes I find myself part way through someone’s opening dialog trying to ask "Who is this?" as they talk on, assuming I recognize their voice. I start most of my conversations or voicemails with "This is Chris Bell" (because they probably know more than one Chris!). I also leave my number up front on a voicemail. In case they need to replay it to get the number, it is at the very beginning.
- State concisely why you are calling. Don’t know? Hang up and think it through!
- Never leave a voicemail (or send an email for that matter) that says, “Call me back, and I’ll tell you what time we can meet or what I needed.” Just say, “Tomorrow, 9:00 am, at your office.”
- Thank them for their time and attention. With information overload, good manners are always important!
- Repeat your name and number – in case they missed it up front and as a polite reminder.