I HATE VOICEMAIL! Top 2 Tips for Leaving Voicemail

Do you know ANYONE who likes voicemail?  Nope.  Me neither.  There even is a Facebook group “I HATE VOICEMAIL!!!!

I admit, I used to be annoyed at people, like my husband, who would call me back without listening to my voicemail, and then I would have to repeat what I’d just left on voicemail.  But, now, I understand.

How do I hate voicemail?  Let me count the ways:

  1. Most people don’t like leaving voicemail.
  2. People suck at leaving voicemail.  They ramble, they mumble, and they forget contact information.
  3. Nobody likes waiting for menu options to leave or listen to a voicemail.
  4. Voicemail is too linear, both because you can’t sort the messages and because you often have to listen to entire, rambling messages because people give their contact information last.
  5. Some people NEVER listen to their voicemail (if you are one of those people, please do everyone a favor and DISABLE your voicemail).

And that above list is just for people’s cell phone voicemail.  Business automated answering systems are even worse!

In an ideal world, people could provide and receive information/messages by whatever method is their preference (I know for people under 30, this may be hard to believe, but not everybody texts yet).  So, Grandma leaves you a voicemail (her preference) and you receive it as a text (your preference).   Of course, you can subscribe to services that will transcribe your voicemail and send it to you via text or in an email.  I just don’t want to pay for that service.  I did however, recently sign-up for a free YouMail account , so that I can have additional control over my voicemail.

And now for those top two voicemail tips:

  1. Don’t leave voicemail.  Really.  Don’t do it.  Let’s let voicemail die from lack of use.  Text, email, call back.
  2. If you must leave voicemail, remember “less is more.”  Keep it to no more than 20 seconds.  State your name, your phone number (try writing down your number as you give it—that will help slow you down) and a very, very brief mention of what the call is regarding.  Try something like this:

“Hi, Dawn, this is Diane Windingland.  Please call me at ###-###-### regarding the speaking engagement on September 10.  Thank you! Goodbye.

Oh, here’s a bonus tip:  check your outgoing message if you haven’t done so in a while.  Is it up-to-date (I once left an old business in my outgoing message for months until somebody said something) and is it appropriate?  No children leaving a barely coherent, rambling message? No long, embarrassing or unprofessional message (especially important if you are job-hunting)?

Voicemail will be with us a while longer, but let’s do us all a favor and KISS it until it dies (KISS=Keep it short and simple).

The video version of this blog:

Diane’s website


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

One Response to I HATE VOICEMAIL! Top 2 Tips for Leaving Voicemail

  1. Joan Oen says:

    What I hate about voicemail is what it does to me when I hear that “Beep!” That darn beep turns me into a babbling fool. I ramble on and on, repeating myself and going into way more detail than necessary. Sometimes I talk for so long I get cut off by the machine–it really is quite embarrassing.

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