Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I’m In Voicemail Hell

Voicemail. Oh, don’t get me started . . . too late. I just dread pushing those couple of little buttons on the phone to get my messages because I just KNOW that at least one of them is going to have me wanting to shoot myself in the temple before the caller has finished his message.

Voicemail was invented in the late ‘70s by Gordon Matthews. I’m sure he thought he was contributing something really spectacular to the business world. But I don’t think he could have imagined the abuse his little office miracle would be getting 30-some years later.

There’s a good chance that you, and everyone you know, has been in a voicemail nightmare. It’s not a place that you want to get to know. Leaving messages should be a very simple and SHORT process. They’re not meant to get everything off your chest. Be PREPARED, prior to making your call, to leave a coherent and concise message if the person doesn’t answer.

When leaving messages, have mercy on your listeners and do the following:
1. Speak slooowwwly and clearrrly and leave your phone number at the beginning AND the end of your message. Please save us from having to listen to the whole message twice in order to get your number.
2. Limit your comments to one or two quick subjects.
3. If you find yourself rambling, for the sake of my sanity (and your reputation), stop yourself and re-record the message.
4. If you need some type of action, simply state what you need. Voicemails that simply say, “call me” are just plain irritating . . . and may possibly be ignored. Give a short sentence or two about WHY you want me to call you.

And while we’re on the subject (soapbox) of phones, you know that little speaker button on your phone? FORGET you have one. If I wanted to call you AND everyone in your cube farm, I would have made a conference call.

When used properly, voicemail can improve communications dramatically. It can be a great asset. Just think about what it would be like if YOU were getting your message.

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