Communication Skills Help Desk Tip # 5 Using Voice Mail Properly

Improve your Communication Skills by preparing  for the Beep.

Have you ever received a voice mail message that sounded something like this?

“Hi, Al. This is Steve. About that 9:30 meeting we’re supposed to have on Wednesday — now wait.

Is that 9:30 meeting on Wednesday or Thursday? Maybe it’s 10:30.

Hold it! Was that meeting with you or was that with Jennifer? Al, let me get back to you later.”

Receiving confusing voice mail messages like that is common in business.

To avoid sounding unprepared and maybe unprofessional, consider the following suggestions.

First, understand that the chances are very high in today’s busy business world that you will get a voice mail message asking you to leave a message.

Consider leaving a voice mail message as a time saver and a marketing opportunity, rather than a nuisance.

Before you call someone, jot down a quick sentence or bullet of the major reason for the call. Then, jot down up to three bullet points you would like to get across or the key question you would like to ask that person.

This helps organize your thoughts and prepares you to leave an intelligent message on someone’s voice mail. This also helps when the person returns your call.

The person you called has time to consider your points or prepare answers for your questions. This saves both of you time.

And, leaving a well scripted, 20 second voice mail message offers you three marketing benefits.

First, a short, well-scripted message helps you overcome the fear and dread of picking up the two-ton telephone to make the call.

Second, it introduces you and the reason for your call and prepares your customer for your follow up call.

Finally, if you do this well, you might find your customers will call you before you have a chance to call them back.

They now know why you called and why talking with you is important to them.

When you leave a voice mail message, state your full name, company, and telephone number clearly and slowly at least twice. Yes, twice.

Talk to you soon.

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