How to Leave a Professional Voicemail Message

May 17, 2012
  1. How to leave a professional voicemail messageBe prepared. Before you even pick up the phone to make a business call, be prepared for what it is you want to say. What is the purpose of your call? Summarize this, in your mind (or on paper if you must), in a few short sentences.
  2. Introduce yourself. Begin every voicemail message with an introduction. Don’t assume that the recipient will know who you are from your voice. Start with something like: “Good morning, this is Joan Smith, marketing director at ABC Company…”
  3. Keep it short. With most answering systems you have a one minute time limit to leave a message so be sure to keep your message short, simple and concise. You don’t have to divulge every detail in your voice message. It’s completely acceptable to leave a short message that conveys the reason for your call, such as: “Good morning, Bob. Our monthly sales meeting has been moved to tomorrow at 10 a.m. I look forward to seeing you then.” If there is more information to share, simply end your message with something like: “Please give me a call back to discuss the details.”
  4. Speak slowly and clearly. When the “BEEP” alerts you to start your message, remember this: It’s not a starter pistol…and you’re not off to the races! Even though there is a time limit for your message, speak slow enough that the recipient can understand what you are saying. Speak clearly, and with an adequate volume. If the recipient is jotting down notes or a callback number, you want to be certain that the message is understood. When listening to your voicemail, it’s really frustrating to have to replay the message three times just to get the info straight!
  5. Include your phone number. One of the things many people forget to do when leaving a voicemail message is to provide a callback number. When ending the call, leaving your number twice is a courtesy – as often people can’t write down your number as fast as you say it.  Something like: “Thank you for your time. You can reach me at 888-555-4444 anytime. That’s 888-555-4444. I look forward to speaking with you.”

Are there any voicemail pet peeves you’d like to share with us? What about leaving a message? Do you feel at a complete loss for words when faced with the “…leave a message at the sound of the beep”? Leave your comments below!

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Posted by Margaret in Business Etiquette.


4 Responses to How to Leave a Professional Voicemail Message

  1. garrett: May 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I think the most important thing when leaving a professional sounding voicemail is to get to the point quickly. I usually will delete a voicemail if i don’t recognize the caller.
    I think it’s also really important to sound confident and know what you are going to say beforehand.

  2. Margaret: May 22, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Completely agree, Garrett. It’s important to keep your message short and concise — and, yes, definitely let the recipient know who you are! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

  3. Pamela: March 9, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Hi Margaret,

    Great advice. It’s always a good idea to mention the number twice. I know I rarely catch it during the first listen, and isn’t it nice when you don’t have to go back and listen twice!

    Great meeting you in Kelowna and so glad we connected online.

    You’re an inspiration. Thank you.

  4. Grace: December 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Hi, Margaret!

    Thanks for tips. I also find it very helpful to smile while recording a voicemail greeting. It definitely helps to sound more friendly. And I totally agree with Pamela about mentioning your phone number twice.

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