7 Quick and Dirty Voicemail Tips

Stever Robbins
2-minute read

Here are a few tips you should always follow when leaving a voicemail. You'll be more productive and you won't annoy the person you're calling:

  1. Leave your full name. Don't think, "Oh, they'll recognize my voice." No, they won't. Leave your full name. "But I'm leaving my message for my parents." That's nice. Leave your full name. It's good practice.

  2. Leave your phone number twice. Once at the beginning and once at the end. "But they have my phone number," you cry! No, they don't, not with them. "But we talk every day!" Yes, and they don't have your phone number. Not in front of their eyes. Just leave it.

  3. Speak slowly and clearly. Your brain screens out traffic, conversations, and wind while you leave a message. You hear the dulcet strains of your own voice, while the voicemail system hears static, wind, and the occasional siren. Speak to them ... like ... they're ... a ... child. They'll understand you and you'll get the fun of activating your parental instincts without the fuss of actually changing diapers.

  4. Leave enough information so that the person can take the next step. Don't just say "Call me." What a cop out! You'll just bounce back and forth like some hideous voicemail volleyball. Tell them enough so they can proceed without calling back, or if they call back, they can do it having made all the progress possible. Example: "This is Sam, calling about the, er, health issue. Could you call me back with the name of that antibiotic? And what's your favorite cotton swab? Thanks!"

  5. Establish your availability for a call back. There are times you want a phone call, and times when you don't. When you're out on the town, edging up to that sexy single standing by the bar, you just aren't in the mood to take a phone call about refilling your company's supply of packing peanuts. Tell your voicemail victim, "Give me a call today after 3, tomorrow at 7, or Thursday between 9 and noon." You'll help them and save your love life, all at once.

  6. Keep it short and simple. Duh.

  7. Make it fun. If you must go on and on in a voicemail message, make it easy to listen to. Be humorous. Sing. Deliver your message in rhyme. If you're going to force people to think of you, have 'em think of you fondly.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.