Dana  Bristol-Smith

Article Summary:

How to record effective voicemail greetings and leave messages that will cause the recipient to take quick action on your request.

Voicemail Greetings and Leaving Messages Effectively

We can't live without it -sometimes we can barely stand living with it. In American business culture, voicemail is a great way to stay in contact with colleagues, customers, bosses - and it can be misused and abused.

Before starting Speak for Success, I worked for another training company. Voicemail was the primary way that we kept in touch with our trainers, owner, and others in the company. Assignments and tasks usually came via voicemail, as we were in different time zones much of the time.

Our general manager, Ron, designed a "For Your" system. What's a "For Your" system, you ask. If the message was a request for a specific action or assignment, the caller would, at the beginning of the message, say that this is an FYA - For Your Action. We knew then that we had to listen to the message right away and take care of the request. The other kind of message was an FYI - For Your Information. These messages weren't urgent or a request, and we could save them for a time in the day when we had a moment.

Today, in all of our Speak for Success communications programs, a principle that we teach is to communicate what is most important at the front-end of our communications, whether we are writing, speaking one-on-one, presenting to a group, and even leaving voicemail messages.

Top 10 Tips for Using Voicemail Effectively

When Leaving a Message
1. Have an objective for each call that you make - know what you want.

2. Make it quick, but don't talk too fast - try not to leave a message over 60 seconds long.

3. When you have more than one item or request, write them down before you call.

4. If details are critical in your message, follow up with e-mail and state that you will in your message.

5. SLOWLY say your phone number or extension TWICE, once at the beginning of the call and once at the end.

When Recording Your Voicemail Greeting
1. Sound professional.

2. If you are a consultant, don't leave a commercial or thought of the day on your message - callers want to quickly leave a message if you are not there.

3. Don't say - "Hi this is Jason, you know what to do."

4. Do say - "Hi this is Jason Smith, I'm out with customers all morning. Please leave me your name, number, and why you are calling. You'll hear back from me this afternoon."

5. Smile as you leave your greeting; it is true that others can hear the smile in your voice!

I hope these tips have been helpful. If you have any comments, please give me a call at 760-726-5272. If you get my voicemail, you know what to do. Oops! Excuse me, I meant to say: Hello, this is Dana with Speak for Success. I'm in the classroom all day today. Please leave me your name, number, and a good time to reach you tomorrow. I look forward to speaking with you.

Dana Bristol-Smith is the founder of Speak for Success, an organization that works with companies that want their people to communicate with confidence and credibility. She is the author of Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking interactive manual. Dana works primarily with managers, sales and technical professionals and has delivered presentations and training to more than 100,000 people since 1992. For more information, visit Speakforsuccess.net

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