Do you remember when a real, live person used to answer the phone? There were no "phone trees", no push-button menus, no caller ID so we could screen our calls. These days we spend more time talking to voicemail than real people. By planning ahead, we can leave voicemail messages that allow us advance our cause and make a good impression.
Here are 5 tips for leaving an effective message:
- Prepare. Preparation is key to every task that we want done well. Jot down a sentence or two about what you want to accomplish with your voice mail message. What is your goal? What information do you want to relay? What is your call to action? Preparing ahead can help you get the most out of the brief time you have to share a compelling message.
- Gather your info. Have all the information together BEFORE you make the call. This will save you from fumbling through a stack of papers and sprinkling your messages with "um's".
- Organize your message. List your topics in the order of their importance. Since you don't know how long you'll have to leave a message, you'll want to present the most important info on the recording. Start and end with your name and phone number. The chances of getting a return call decrease if they have to re-listen to your message for the phone number to call you back on.
- Call to action. Make a clear, specific request so the person knows exactly what you would like her/him to do.
- Schedule a follow-up call. We're all very busy. Just because something is important to us doesn't mean that the other person feels it's something they need to follow up on right away. Write down in your calendar when you made the initial call. After leaving a voicemail, schedule another call. So you may end your message with "I know that you are quite busy so if I don't hear back from you by Thursday morning, I'll give you another call. This is Sue (leave your name and phone number...."
Following these tips will help you leave more effective messages. And the ideas listed will help you be more organized and effective IF a person actually answers the phone when you call!
What do you like when people leave you a voicemail message? We'd love to hear from you!
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