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Effective Voice Mails 101

No one answers their phone anymore, so I leave a ton of voice messages. I get a lot too. Over the years, I’ve kept a running tab on my biggest voice mail pet peeves… and I’ve decided I can’t keep them to myself any longer!

This sounds like obvious stuff, but if you’ve ever gotten a message from Mr. There’s a Point in Here Somewhere or Ms. Today I’m Feeling Indecisive, you’ll agree there’s room for improvement.

How to Leave an Effective Message:

1.       Tell me who and why. “Please… tell me who you are and what you want. And if you think those are simple questions, keep in mind that most people live their entire lives without arriving at an answer.”  — Gary Zukav. Advanced technique (that I love): Bullet the reasons for your call, e.g. “There are three things I need you to do before you get on a plane: 1. Review my edits to the presentation, 2…”

2.       How and when to reach you. It’s helpful to include an alternate method of contact, e.g. “I’m sending you an email right now in case it’s easier for you to respond that way.”

3.       Desired action and level of urgency. Negative check-off is nice: If I don’t hear from you before 6:00 tonight, I’m going to send the contract as is.”

Putting it all Together – Sample Voice Mail:

Fernando, it’s Jen Selverian. I’m at 973-295-6482. I’m calling with good news: They want to make you an offer at Fusion Interactive. We’ll need to get them 2-3 professional references ASAP, and you and I should regroup on your salary requirements before end of day. I’d like to get this information to them today so we can turn around an offer before the weekend. Please call or text me when you’re free. If you don’t catch me live, tell me the exact time I should call you back. Again, the number’s 973-295-6482. Thanks! Speak soon.

See how this is so much more productive than…

Fernando, it’s Jen. Give me a call back.

Reasons Why:

1.       It’s concise and informative. Fernando knows why I’m calling and what I need from him. He can prioritize my call accordingly.

2.       I’ve given him several options for responding and told him what to do in the event of phone tag. He could even email me references and salary info.

Related Topics: The Five Sentence Email Rule

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