Rule of 5: Voicemail


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!

  1. 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.
  2. State concisely why you are calling.  Don’t know?  Hang up and think it through!
  3. 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.”
  4. Thank them for their time and attention.  With information overload, good manners are always important! 
  5. Repeat your name and number – in case they missed it up front and as a polite reminder.

2 thoughts on “Rule of 5: Voicemail

  1. Uhhhh, my names is, what is my name… oh yeah, kent. Number… well I like the number 12, that is good number, I want to have coffee or some other caffinated beverage with you in your area of convinence… why, okay let’s think here, Oh yeah it is fun. Time is not set, but I am like so flexible. Like…yeah.
    I am still kent and I will wait to hear from you.
    Yeah…okay…that is it. bye

  2. Ugh. I am both victim and culprit. Thank you thank you thank you for telling people to do the name and number up front. Thank you thank you thank you.

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