We previously covered how to record a better voicemail greeting, but what about how to leave a voicemail message that people and businesses will reply to?
With text and so many messaging apps, calling and leaving a voice message is becoming a rare event: if you’re going through the trouble to leave a voicemail it’s probably because you have something to discuss that you can’t simply send in a text or an email. This means if you’re going to the trouble of leaving a voicemail, you need to make sure you leave a clear message that gets results.
Here are five tips on how to leave a message that will make people want to call you back.
Get to the point
When leaving a message stick to the basics: say who you are, the time & date of your call, why you are calling, the number to call to reach you (or best alternative method), and information that affects them (ex. You’re in the office until 5 pm). Providing that information should not take you longer than 30-45 seconds.
Don’t ask questions
Voicemail is not the place to ask questions. You might want to say that you have questions, enough to give them a reason to call you back. More often than not though, it’s unhelpful and makes demands of the other person’s time and energy.
Don’t make demands
Following the above: have you ever received a message with a long list of dates and times when they want you to call you back? What they’re saying is they want you to conform to their schedule, with no consideration of what works for you.
If it’s important to speak with you during those specific times, be clear about it: “I’m free between 1 and 2 pm on Friday”, rather than “call me this week.” If you need to say more, send an email or schedule something in their calendar if possible.
Say your number…twice
This is about clarity: saying your number twice makes sure the most important part of your message is easy to understand. It also to gives them time to find a pen and paper and a second chance to remember the number.
You want to speak slowly and clearly, and pause between saying pieces of information. When you’ve called someone else, make it easy for them to get in touch with you.
How do you know them?
Finally, provide a little context about how you know them. This is especially important if you’re leaving a followup message with someone you met at an event or a job interview. The person you’re calling may have met dozens or hundreds of people the day you met them and might not recognize your name or voice. If you’re calling a business, mention how you heard about them, who referred you, or that you visited their store the other day.
If you follow these tips your voicemail messages will make it easier for recipients to take action and therefore more likely to respond. You gave them what they needed to know, were clear about it, and made it easy to get in touch with you. While none of these tips can guarantee your message won’t be forgotten, deleted without reply, or lead to another round of phone tag, every bit helps.
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