Section 9.6

Your Outgoing Voicemail Greeting

Your outgoing voicemail greeting conveys not only practical information, but also an impression — sometimes a first impression — of who you are. Make your greeting clear, concise, and polite; support your voice with energy and personality.

Limit the information in your greeting to what callers really need to know. Give your first and last name and perhaps your company’s name and department, so the caller knows that he or she has reached you and not someone else. You should probably invite the caller to leave a message. You may want to thank the caller for calling or say that you will call back. If you know you won’t call back promptly (because of vacation or some other reason), you should say so, and perhaps give the number of a colleague to call in your absence. If your specific situation requires any more information, add it sparingly.

In addition, make your greeting accurate, and keep it current. If you leave the office at 5:00 p.m., people who call you at 5:30 p.m. shouldn’t get a greeting that says, “I am in the office, but unable to answer the phone.” If it’s Wednesday, don’t keep the greeting you had the day before about being at an off-site meeting all day Tuesday. An erroneous voicemail greeting is unprofessional, potentially confusing, and often annoying for callers.