The telephone is one of the most commonly used business tools. Who do you know that does not have a phone? I personally can’t think of anyone who doesn’t. If it is that common, why do so many people have issues with the appropriate information to leave as an answering message? Is it because people don’t always realize the impact of a first impression? Is it because “cute” seemed like a good idea at the time? The tips in this article are just common sense I believe. The problem, however, is that common sense is only occasionally common. See what you think.
When you leave a phone message, always leave your number, even if you’re sure that person has it. It’s a good idea to say it more than once. Sometimes people need to find a place to write it. Be sure you say it slowly and clearly. I have replayed some messages several times trying to get a digit or two that were slurred or spoken so quickly that they couldn’t be caught, at least by me. Say who you are and your number at the beginning of the message and again at the end. The best way to leave a message is to mention when you can be reached. You can also invite your caller to leave a best time to call back if they are unable to speak with you directly. The burden to make the contact is on you. After all, you were the one who left the original message. Respect the person who listens to the message by not including too much information. The time to share information in more detail is when you are speaking directly. Some years ago, I heard a message from a business acquaintance that indicated the caller had 60 minutes to leave a message. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The next time I saw him, I mentioned what I had heard, thinking that perhaps that wasn’t what he meant at all and would like to know about it so he could change it. As it turned out, that was what he had meant to say. I personally can’t imagine leaving a sixty minute message or listening to one. That brings me to another part of this tip. After you have created your message, call your own number periodically to listen to the message you have left for others. Sometimes they can become corrupted over time and the quality deteriorates. That is certainly not the impression you want to leave with the public. This is vital with regard to referrals as well. Your phone message is the first impression, the first contact with someone who may have received a recommendation to call you from someone else.
No matter how cute your child or grandchild is, do not have their voice be your answering machine message. I think this is true for personal calls, too, but definitely for business calls. Many adults have a difficult time understanding “child speak” unless it’s their child. Even young teens don’t always speak clearly enough and slowly enough to leave an appropriate message on your answering machine. If you have a separate line that only close friends and relatives use, and you want to put up a holiday greeting or something like that, it might be appropriate to use children’s messages. I am still biased against that practice, but I’m interested in what you have to say about it.
One last thing…….when you are on your phone, creating your voicemail message, leaving a message, or listening to messages left for you, imagine how enjoyable it would be to gaze at your own business logo on your branded cell phone. Check out http://www.nomorenakedphones.com . You’ll be glad you did. Thanks for checking out this blog. Watch for them every Friday. Next week’s topic is related to phone use as well.