Section 9.7

Leaving Voicemail Messages

Before you pick up the phone to make a call, remind yourself that you might reach a voicemail system instead of a person. Try to picture the recipient of your call as he or she plays your message. What would make especially good use of the recipient’s time? What would make it as easy as possible for him or her to understand and act on your message? If you are leaving a message for a stranger, be sure to include why you are calling.

Speak clearly, and don’t rush. Voice recordings are generally not as easy to understand as the real thing.

Say as little as possible to get your idea across. Yours will probably not be the only message your listener receives that day; respect your listener’s time. If voicemail systems frequently cut you off before you have finished, consider trimming your messages.

Unless you are certain that the person you are calling knows your phone number by heart, include it in your message. Doing so makes it easier for the person to call you back, and more likely that you will get a prompt return call. Also, say your number early in the message (and slowly), so if the recipient needs to replay your number to confirm it, he or she won’t be forced to listen to your entire message again.