An HR manager from one of our CPA Career Connect employment partners gave us a call saying she had received a voice message from a student she met at a networking event. She could not make out the student’s name or phone number so she asked that I listen to the message to see if I could help. The message was long and at the very end the student blurted a name and phone number. Even after repeated runs through the message, we could not decipher the phone number. This call was never returned.
Voice message mishaps occur far too often. At times we still need to leave good old-fashioned phone messages and you never know if someone has call display or not. Here are three tips to make sure your message is heard clearly and that you create the most positive and professional voice mail impression.
1. Clearly state your name and a brief reason for your call at the start of your message
When leaving an important voice message, indicate your name and set the context for why you are calling. You can even tell the recipient right up front that you will leave your contact information at the end of the message (more about this in Tip #3).
“Hello Paula, this is Dan Relihan from the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC. I met you last week at the Board of Trade luncheon and am now calling to follow up as promised. I will leave my contact info for you at the end of this message…”
2. Be brief and concise
A long and rambling voice message might annoy the recipient, will most likely create a less than favourable impression, and could be why your messages are not being returned.
Take a few moments to plan what you want to say. Be brief, clear, pleasant, and to the point. You may even want to write down what you want to say, but be careful not to read it back as though from a script. Say your message aloud a couple of times to make sure you are brief and concise.
3. Very clearly leave your contact information. Then repeat it
This is perhaps the most important tip for making sure your voice message does what you intend it to do. It is surprising how often students, or even professionals, will far too quickly blurt out their phone number. Doing so creates frustration for the recipient and likely ruins your chance for a return call.
Make sure you help the recipient clearly receive your contact information the first time they listen. Slow down when reciting your phone number and don’t be shy about repeating your contact information. It’s a natural tendency to speed up when leaving a phone number: we feel we’ve reached the end of our message and we know our phone numbers off by heart.
To help the recipient, tell them you are about to leave your number, give them your number, and then give it again.