5 Tips to Leave More Effective Voicemail Messages

How to Leave a Professional Voicemail

Please let me start by saying that I am not an expert in leaving a professional voicemail. I am someone that has made all the same mistakes that you do. The only difference is that I want to bring to you the very best techniques I have learned over the years. By following these tips, I hope we can all learn how to leave professional, better voicemail messages so that more people return our calls.

Below, are my top 5 tips to enable you to leave more professional voicemail messages:

1. Give Them a Reason to Call You Back

Most of the voicemails that we receive everyday are people wanting us to call them back. A simple ‘Call to Action’, yet the calls that you returned were people that you wanted to call or people that gave you a reason to call or those that got your attention.

Why, give a reason for a call back

In the voicemails that you leave give them a reason to call you. Don’t just state the ‘Call to Action’. Ask yourself this question – Why should they call you back? An ideal reason to call you back, for sales calls, is if you can mention a mutual friend, colleague or acquaintance, or ask them a question in your voicemail, or let them know about something they just cannot miss.

2. Voicemail Length is a Matter of Debate

The gurus suggest anywhere between 10 seconds and 30 seconds. My own take on what they suggest is a short message that is compelling. The information you provide should be short, essential, does not repeat any of the system data, e.g. Date and time, and gives them a reason to call you back. A message of 20 seconds is about 40 words.

3. What Should You Not Do When Leaving an Effective Voicemail?

There are several things you should avoid when trying to leave a professional voicemail:

  1. Don’t ask the person to call you back at a certain time as they will see this as an excuse not to.
  2. Don’t state in the message that you will call them back because they’ll delete the message and leave you to do so.
  3. Try not to leave messages on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.
  4. Don’t leave the same voicemail twice. Think of a new reason for them to call you back.
  5. Don’t leave enough information for someone to make up their mind, i.e. For a sales call don’t leave your website address.
  6. Never start by referring to failed attempts, e.g. ‘This is………. I have called you several times and…’.
  7. Don’t be boring.

4. How Do You Sound?

We wouldn’t return the call of someone that sounded like they couldn’t be bothered. What tone are you sounding like when you leave your voicemail?

Happy young woman talking on the phone

Ideally, you want to be positive and enthusiastic every time. Write down your 40 words before you leave your next voicemail and read it back to yourself or record it to hear if you would return your call.

5. What Does an Effective Voicemail Look Like?

The following is an example of a professional voicemail you may wish to follow when you leave your next message:

‘Hi, Bill. The reason for my call is…………… Please call me back Bill, this is…………… of ……………’.

You can add your number if you wish. The jury seems to be out as to whether you should or not. I suggest for mobiles, not, and for landlines, yes.

In Summary

To summarise, the keys to help you leave a more professional voicemail are:

  1. Give them a reason to call you back.
  2. Leave a short and compelling message.
  3. Know the ‘do nots’.
  4. Sound positive and enthusiastic.
  5. Know the ideal and work towards it.

For further tips and information, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Communication Skills and our Communication Skills YouTube Channel. Also, check out our award-winning blog to see more Communication Skills tips and articles.

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