Top 7 Tips for Leaving a Compelling Voice Mail Message
By Bill Lampton, Ph.D.
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Frequently when we call a top-tier professional, he or she will not be accessible. Often an assistant will say, “Would you like to give me your message, or do you want me to switch you to her voice mail?”
This question prompts me to offer advice about your response, and about how you can strengthen your message’s appeal.
- Say—every time—that you want to be transferred to voice mail:
Why? For one thing, you increase the likelihood that your message will be received, not tossed away accidentally as a piece of scrap paper. Also, you make sure the person gets the message accurately, without omitting or distorting essential elements. Further, you have the advantage of presenting the message with the vitality, warmth, and sincerity of your own voice.
- When you have been referred to this person, start your call with the referral's name, not yours:
"Donald Trump suggested that I get in touch with you" commands far more attention than just introducing yourself. At this point you may have no credibility with the official you are calling, so you borrow the credibility Trump has established and has “loaned you” by agreeing to refer you.
- Give your phone number—slowly and clearly--at the start and finish of your message:
If the listener misses it the first time, she still has another chance without having to replay the message.
- Keep your message brief:
Don't you get impatient with voice mail messages that ramble on for a minute or more? Of course, so stay within a 30 second range. If you are too wordy in your voice mail, you could discourage the recipient from returning your call, which she fears would last too long.
- Offer an incentive for calling you back:
"My system for screening job applicants will help you choose the right job candidate quickly, and will keep you from wasting time with a prolonged search.”
- Eliminate sounds that would divert attention:
Loud radio music, saying hello to a colleague who is walking by your office, or opening and shutting a desk drawer.
- Don’t worry if you make a vocal mistake, even stammer over a word or phrase:
You are not a broadcaster, and this is not an audition. Consider your voice message nothing other than a friendly, informal one-way conversation—and remember that conversations allow imperfect wording. Picture the one individual this message is for, and imagine him listening to you attentively.
Bill Lampton, Ph.D.--author of The Complete Communicator: Change Your Communication, Change Your Life!--helps organizations strengthen their communication, sales, customer service, and motivation, through his keynote speeches, seminars, and speech coaching. Visit his Web site to sign up for his complimentary newsletter, and to enroll in his budget friendly online coaching program: http://www.championshipcommunication.com
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Call 678-316-4300
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Article Submitted On: January 17, 2009