20-40-60 Etiquette: "Please leave a message!"
YOU ASK! WE ANSWER! YOU DECIDE!
QUESTION: When I called a friend I got her voice mail which was very long and detailed…with other numbers to call and instructions for various family members. I hung up before it was finished. Is there a proper way for leaving more professional messages or should voice mail just be personal and chatty?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: Does anyone remember the phrase “keep it simple, stupid? “ No one wants to leave a voice mail, they want you to answer.
This said, have a quick voice mail, and leave a quick message. When stating other numbers to call it can be helpful, for instance, most doctors need a detailed voice mail.
If all else fails, you could listen to her voicemail and call the different number like she told you.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Was it a personal or professional voice mail message? Obviously, a business voice mail should be more formal, but at home, people have a much wider mix of message types, whether formal or familiar. It IS annoying to listen to long, drawn-out messages, whether you hear them as the greeting when you’re the caller or when people call and leave messages for you. However, sometimes there are good reasons for the extra numbers and information that we don’t always know. Our voice mail messages can be used as a first-line defense against fielding calls that shouldn’t necessarily go to us. So, either leave a message or don’t, but if you want your friend to know you called, you’re going to have to suffer through all the extra information that she feels is necessary to include on the her outgoing message.
HELEN’S ANSWER: Voice mail greeting answers should be brief and should create a good impression on the caller about family members or businesses. Most people don’t have time to listen to frivolous messages, so just stick to basic information.
“Please leave a message” is sufficient for most callers. Sometimes if there is too much information and callers need to take notes, they might not be where they can write down other instructions, so they’ll just hang up. Caller id helps to identify who has called, but if a message is in order, a simple voicemail answer can help make it easier to leave a message.
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