Voice Mail Messages by Meggin McIntosh, PhD
We all know how frustrating it is to listen to a message that has been left on our voicemail but that doesn’t make sense. We may re-listen to it and still have to call the person just to determine what action to take. We all need to DESIGN our out-going messages (the one our callers hear) and the messages we leave for others for optimum productivity. As a coach, this is essential for you.
Here are some thoughts on this topic (and believe me, it will increase your productivity if you take action on one or more of these):
- Your outgoing business phone should have a business message. Period. Identify yourself.
- Tell the callers what to do (i.e., please identify the purpose of the call, leave a number, clarify the level of urgency).
- If a person has an urgent message, can you or a colleague be reached at a secondary number immediately? Give the particulars if this is an option.
- Tell how often you check your messages and approximately how soon the person can expect a response. Do not overestimate your efficiency. On my voice mail outgoing message, I use the phrase: “…As quickly as is reasonable.”
- End with a brief closing such as “Thank you” or “Have a great day.”When you are leaving messages for others, follow these protocols:
- Avoid leaving personal messages on a business phone. If you must, make your message as professional as possible.
- Identify yourself (“Hello, this is Mary Johnson from Oklahoma City” vs. “It’s me” or “Hi, it’s Mary.”) Explain briefly why you called and the level of urgency.
- Leave numbers where you can be reached and when it’s convenient for the person to return your call. It’s especially helpful if you say your phone number at the beginning of your message, and again at the end of your message.
- Don’t demand to have your message answered immediately. If your message is clear, they’ll get back to you as soon as is reasonable.
- End with a brief closing, and remember repeat your name and phone number.
One other idea to consider is this one: Cell phones are fabulous, but if the coverage from where you are calling is poor, then your message may break up although you don’t even realize it. Assume that if someone hasn’t called you back, it’s possible your message was garbled. Then, go ahead and call the person again. It happens. I’m a fiend about returning voice mails, but if I can’t tell who called or what the message or number is, then I can’t return the call. I’m relieved and appreciative when the person calls me back.
Meggin works with bright people through her workshops, writing, consulting, and coaching to support their quest for peaceful, predictable productivity. The end result is that these great folks can now consistently keep their emphasis on excellence. It’s a great life!! Meggin’s top 5 strengths are listed on the Bio part of her website, if you’re curious about that (and if you’ve followed her for any length of time, they won’t come as a surprise).
For more suggestions related to designing your professional presence for success, you will want to access the Get a Plan! Guide® to Deliberately Designing Your Professional Presence, which is part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series. The Get a Plan! Guide® series will give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion – so that you can accomplish your goals more smoothly, i.e., peacefully, productively, and predictably.