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I liked and agree with everything, though my standard has been to leave my number with my name in front of the message rather than after the message. My logic is that if the listener has to go back to get writing materials they won't have to listen to the entire message to get my number.

Of course, this has grown from listening to 10 minute voice mails where the number is left in a rush as the very end. I get very frustrated listening to the meandering twice, or thrice to get the number. I often get distracted waiting for the number, and miss it. While I don't seem to have the problem of rushing my number, or leaving meandering messages, I have adjusted my own approach because of it.

In the proposed less than 1 minute message (Thank you Thank you Thank you) the order becomes much less of an issue. In fact, with a short message I do prefer the number at the end as by then I'll know if I need it or not.

p.s. An extremely intelligent and helpful member of these forums indicated an issue with leaving her number in a rush. The following solution occurred to me: Area Code - Pause - Prefix - Pause - 2 numbers - Pause - 2 numbers. Basically, don't speak more than 3 numbers without a pause. Pause in logical places.

sholden's picture

I agree with Will -- great podcast!

I have a little FAQ that I give out to new team members that basically has the suggestions listed in the podcast under the voice mail section of the FAQ.

I also leave my name and phone at the top of the message, and then I repeat both at the end of the message.

I find this suggestion to come under the 'do unto others as you would have them do to you' best practice.

I also highly recommend speaking slowly. I have a terrible time writing down numbers when spoken to me.

Steve

James Gutherson's picture

[quote="sholden"]I agree with Will -- great podcast!

I have a little FAQ that I give out to new team members that basically has the suggestions listed in the podcast under the voice mail section of the FAQ.

I also leave my name and phone at the top of the message, and then I repeat both at the end of the message.

I find this suggestion to come under the 'do unto others as you would have them do to you' best practice.

I also highly recommend speaking slowly. I have a terrible time writing down numbers when spoken to me.

Steve[/quote]

I also concur - great 'cast. My wife is dyslexic and writing numbers down is almost impossible for her unless spoken very slowly (the words and concepts of the message are fine, but the fine details like numbers, addresses and dates get all jumbled up when she tries to write them down). I have certainly adjusted my technique in this area since we have been together and now thanks to M&M I have further changes to make.

skwanch's picture

Simple 'trick' to keep your timing straight . . . write as you talk. Might feel a little silly, but it'll reinforce the correct timing.

Learned that years ago as an entry level acctg clerk, when telephone conversations about numbers was 50% of my day.

bflynn's picture

An additional suggestion - prior to picking up the phone, know what SHORT message you want to give if you get VM. The other part of it, you can automate - my standard VM message left for someone else is:

Hi Bob, this is Brian; my number is 919-555-1212. (message) I look forward to hearing from you.

What I have to fill in every time is message. So prior to picking up the phone, I figure out ONE or TWO sentences that says why I'm calling. I do the number in the front because I don't want them to have to listen to the entire message twice to get the number. Put it 5 seconds in, not 55 seconds in.

And even then, I will mess it up sometimes because I'm in a rush. But we do what we can.

Brian

wendii's picture

[quote]p.s. An extremely intelligent and helpful member of these forums indicated an issue with leaving her number in a rush. The following solution occurred to me: Area Code - Pause - Prefix - Pause - 2 numbers - Pause - 2 numbers. Basically, don't speak more than 3 numbers without a pause. Pause in logical places.[/quote]

And.. thanks to the other helpful and imaginative members of the forum hasn't had a problem since, but has forgotten to say thank you.

Thank you.

Wendii

ashdenver's picture

I admit I will, at times, do the meandering thing. This is generally when I know I will be unreachable and the information is important to the recipient in order for them to proceed to the next step of their process.

For the most part, however, High D that I am, I fully appreciate the shortest message possible while still conveying the purpose of the call. Don't leave me "Hi Ash, this is Bob, my number is (123) 456-7890 - please call me back" because I prefer to be prepared going into a call the best I can. If you tell me "I need to talk to you about why XYZ isn't working," I can do a bit of research beforehand (without the distraction of you talking at me over the phone) and get back to you with the actual answer.

[u]Side note[/u]: Am I the only one who makes a habit of leaving the call back number at least twice in a message? My husband is excellent at memorization and if he hears something once, he's likely to be able to remember it long enough to make an immediate callback but when he hears it twice he could call back in three days.

"Hi Billy, this is Ash with ABC Co, calling about your product. My number here in Denver ([i]working with many time zones[/i]) is 303-123-4567. Again, this is Ash with ABC Co and my number is 303-123-4567."

When I get messages of that sort, I appreciate the repetition so that I don't have to replay the message just to get the last bit of the phone number I may have missed.

asteriskrntt1's picture

I leave my name and number at the front end of the message and again at the back end.

Most people are doing email, having someone knock on their door/cube, reading a report or just not focusing on their voicemails, so I try to help them out both when leaving a voicemail or when recording my outgoing message. If it is not someone I deal with on a regular basis, I also spell out my name on the back end.

In my last major role, I also left explicit instructions on my recorded voice mail for people to leave messages. It really helped.

Hi, this is Aster for (insert date). Today, I will be in meetings from (insert times), after which I am out for a client visit. I won't be able to check my VM until 5 PM (or whatever) and will return all calls tomorrow morning by 9 am (or whatever). Please leave me your name and number slowly and what you are calling about. If you are not someone I deal with regularly, please spell your name out slowly as well. Thank you very much.

It really helped and no one ever said it was over the top.

*RNTT

terrih's picture

Most of the voice mails I leave are to people in other departments at my company. Do I really need to include my last name in those?

Sometimes, with someone I don't deal with a lot, I might say, "...this is Terri in Tech Pubs." Seems to work, but if that's not kosher, tell me now. :wink:

OTOH, there are getting to be a lot of Terris & Terrys here... :shock:

jkaj's picture

After i listend to the podcast of Voicemail i tried it. And i got som great results.
Now i have tought everyone in my team, during the staff meeting, and they pickt it up fast.
Our customers likes the new deal.
Thanks M&M!

magnus's picture

Hi,

Great cast

I love the part about moving the conversation forward. I implemented it immediately afterwards, and the result is that when they call me back, they have the answer to any question I ask. It reduces time spent on the phone, without reducing outcome.

Thank you M&M

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="terrih"]Most of the voice mails I leave are to people in other departments at my company. Do I really need to include my last name in those?[/quote]

BLsUF: Always leave your full name. Just because they didn't answer doesn't mean you have to leave a message

There's a guy I've worked closely with for about 8 years now, mostly sitting within 5 feet of him and speaking to him virtually every day. I still leave my full name and number everytime I have to leave him a voice mail. It takes a couple of seconds and can save a lot of trouble and "Well, I didn't know which Stephen, there was a lot of background noise." He, on the other hand, thinks a muttered "Call me" is a perfectly acceptable voicemail to leave, even when he's got own number sending turned off and has just changed his mobile (again) so has a new number he hasn't told me about. I'm trying to educate him otherwise.

I haven't listened to the cast yet so don't know if this is included but no-one in this thread has yet made what I think is a very important point. Just because you get their out going message doesn't mean that you have to leave a message right then. It might be hours before they pick up their voice mail so you hanging up and taking a couple of minutes to work out what message you want to leave is not a bad thing. Plus in the intervening time they may have gotten back to their desk (how many times have you been in the next cube over talking to someone, heard your phone ring, dashed over only to have voicemail pick up half a second before you get there?) and be able to answer. The advantage there is that by working out the message you want to leave you've worked out your bottom line so the conversation can be much more effective as up front you can give them the key sentance!

Stephen

WillDuke's picture

[quote]I haven't listened to the cast yet so don't know if this is included but no-one in this thread has yet made what I think is a very important point. Just because you get their out going message doesn't mean that you have to leave a message right then. It might be hours before they pick up their voice mail so you hanging up and taking a couple of minutes to work out what message you want to leave is not a bad thing.[/quote]
I have to disagree. If you don't know enough about why you're calling to leave a message, then you don't know enough to talk to me either. I hate it when people call up and ramble to me while they figure out what they want to say.

Identify the reason you're calling. (If you're really good, make some bullet points.) Then call me. Our conversation will be efficient AND effective!

ssf_sara's picture

One question about privacy and voicemail:

It says in the cast that we shouldn't assume that voicemail is private. However, it also says that its OK to leave a job offer by voicemail. From the making an offer podcast, I recall that we were encouraged to include the salary information in the voicemail message.

I see this as a contradiction. Job offers are private. The fact that an offer is being made is kept hidden from at least the candidates present employer and the other candidates. The salary information is limited to the candidate, my boss (and those above), HR and perhaps the candidate's spouse. It certainly isn't public and if it were published in the newspaper, I'd be in trouble.

Thoughts?

Sara
7-1-4-6

Mark's picture

Oh, and there are thousands more contradictions after we get through this one. If management were easy, the pay would be less and third graders would be doing it. One definition of hard is "full of contradictions".

Voicemail is NOT private when you are leaving it at a corporate location. In fact, it is not only not private, it is the company's property. Since most voicemails are left on work numbers, we recommended that everyone be cognizant of that fact. A great example is an admin reviewing her boss's voicemail - happens every day.

But, a job offer is RARELY left on a corporate voicemail. If it's left on voicemail, it is personal voicemail. That is ostensibly private (though there are laws governing it), and it is decidedly NOT public. Leaving a salary as part of an offer on a private voicemail is no different operationally from telling someone what the amount of their offer is, face to face or in writing. There is a reasonable assumption about confidentiality, the breaking of which is far worse for the candidate than for the company.

If you're asking if you should ever leave an offer amount on someone else's work voicemail, the answer is no because we recommend you never hire someone who asks you to correspond with them through their work voicemail or telephone (it's unethical).

Go ahed and offer. The speed is a decided advantage, and the dangers are over-rated.

Mark

jevens's picture

Good voice mail starts even before you leave a message for someone. The greeting that you have for others to listen to is important. My greeting has my name, the company I work for, the date (yes I change it every day) and whether I am available and when I will return calls by.

So...
Hi this is John xxx at yyy company. It is Friday Jan 11 and I am in the office, but in meetings from 8:30 to 11:AM. If you leave a message I will return your call before noon or 4:30. If you need assisatnce press 0 and your call will be re-directed.

This lets people know you are in and will return their call by a specific time. If Im out of the office the message is...

Out of the Office. Hi this is John xxx at yyy company. It is Friday Jan 11 and I am out of the office. If you leave a message I will return your call on Jan 14. If you need assisatnce press 0 and your call will be re-directed.

This leaves no doubt in the listens mind that you will not return their call until the 14th.

Too often peoples greetings are vague, leaving me to wonder if the person is at work and when (or if) they will return my call. Changing your greeting everyday is simple, quick and professional.

thaGUma's picture

jevens, I love it when the person I ring has a daily message. And I get a negative feeling when this message isn't upated or if the person doesn't return my call when they say they will be back in the office.

Well done if you can keep it going. It will set you above the majority and indicates you are an organised person.

Chris

ChrisBakerPM's picture

I'd like to suggest adding a fifth component to each voicemail message (it's number 3 below):
1) Hello e.g. Pat
2) This is
3) Short sentence to give them some context for why I'm calling.
4) The content (very much agree with "moving the conversation forward"...)
5) My number is ....

For example:
"Hello Pat, this is Chris Baker calling [i]about your proposal for the website for XYZ company[/i]. I'm minded to approve it but I have some points I need you clarify first. I'll put them in an email. My number is...."

OK sometimes the nature of the content of the call is such that you don't need the introductory sentence. But sometimes I think it is a helpful courtesy to avoid my recipient needing to listen to the whole voicemail to figure out which project this is about. So I always try to put it in.