How to Leave a Professional Voicemail

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Can a gatekeeper or company decision maker actually decide to pass you over because you stammered a bit while leaving a voice message? Do company managers actually sit by the phone and analyze the tone and tenor of a voice message before deciding to engage with the person leaving said message?

As it happens, the people receiving your voice message are just that: people. And as absurd as it sounds, like all human beings, they factor volumes of intangible data into a decision to trust someone or withhold that trust. This data includes the confidence in your voice as you leave a professional message.

Don’t laugh. Instead, place yourself in your listener’s position. If you need a high stakes job completed with no room for error (surgery performed on your child, a dangerous wiring problem fixed in your home, or an elevator installed that will safely carry you to the 35th floor), would you trust a provider or contractor who mumbled and fumbled their way through a simple message? Probably not. Especially of you had a long list of other options. Keep these voice message tips in mind.

1. Take a deep, even breath as you listen to the recorded message and wait for the tone.

2. Stand up. If you’re hunched over your desk and your chest is in a collapsed position, this will come through in your message.

3. Arrange your face according to your desired tone. Smile if a smile would be appropriate in a real-time version of this conversation. Or put on your war face, your interview face, or your public-presentation face.

4. Speak slowly. Your voice should be one beat slower than whatever feels normal. Pause between each sentence.

5. Listen carefully for any specific instructions provided by the message. Keep a pen close so you can write them down.

6. Start with hi, followed by your full name. “Hi, this is Pat Stevenson.”

7. State your affiliation if you have one, as in “Hi, this is Pat Stevenson with XYZ Company.”

8. Slowly leave your number. The number should be recorded near the beginning of the message, so the listener doesn’t have the play back the entire ten minute message to hear it again and write it down.

9. Then state your business succinctly. If you have a long, complex message containing detailed instructions, or a presentation to make complete with bullet points, don’t leave this message in a voicemail. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, just summarize your case in ten words or fewer and ask the person to call you back. Long voicemails can be just as damaging as rambling, uncertain ones. Stay brief, clear, and relevant, and know when it’s time to repeat your phone number and hang up.

For more information on how to leave a professional message or follow up effectively by voice or email, reach out to the Little Rock staffing experts at CSS.

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