Communicating is the number-one way of getting things done. With all our modern systems, we are communicating more often, but not necessarily more successfully. Voice-mail systems are everywhere. Unfortunately, their introduction to organizations is hindering rather than improving communications. Here is how you can make more efficient use of this communications tool:
When setting up your voice-mail message, consider these ideas:
Make your message pleasant and welcoming.
Record a message of no longer than fifteen seconds. In that time, you should state
- your name;
- where you are (i.e., "away from my desk," "on holiday," "at a conference");
- that the person leave his name, phone number, and a complete message;
- how long it may take to get back to the caller;
- your appreciation for the call.
Do not record your message using a speaker phone. It will make you sound as if you're on another planet.
When calling someone who has voice mail, leave
your phone number;
the reason for your call;
a time when you can be reached.
In this way, you will have started the communication. If the person calls back when you're not there, he or she can then close the loop by leaving a message for you.
If you are leaving important details, speak more slowly and deliberately, imagining the other party making notes while you speak.
Avoid leaving personal and confidential information on voice mail.