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Respectfully Yours: Voicemail messages

Dear Jacquelyn,

Leaving a voicemail message makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what to say and how much information to leave. Many times, when I hear the dreaded recording, I just figure, I’ll try again later when they’re there. When I do muster up the courage to leave a voicemail message, I tend to stumble a bit or I feel like I’m rambling on. How much information do I really need to leave? Any tips would be appreciated.

Dear Reader, Talking to a person is very different from talking to a non-responsive robotic clerk. Our intention when we call someone is to have a two-way conversation.

The dreaded “Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice-messaging system” gives most people a moment of disappointment and panic.

In addition to that, there’s a whole generation out there that doesn’t even bother using voicemail.

In these days of technology, we have grown so dependent on written text messages in the interest of time that leaving voicemail has quickly become a lost skill. However, there are times we absolutely must use voicemail as a way to communicate.

Here are some tips to help you leave a voicemail message that gets the needed information across before the dreaded beep:

Before calling, write out what you want to say, maybe even practice it out loud. Talk slowly and keep it short. Keep the message brief with a couple quick bullet points.

When you are ready to leave a voicemail message, be sure to identify yourself right away. Say your phone number at the beginning of the message. Then provide the information that you want to share.

Finally, if you are requesting a callback, explain the times that are most convenient so that you are most likely to be available to take the call and avoid additional phone tag.

Make sure to always speak clearly while maintaining a friendly tone. This may sound corny, but we can hear a smile in another person’s voice.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2018 Jacquelyn Youst