woman on phone from fisheye lensSometimes the key to getting what you need from someone else is in your communication. I’ve heard before that when your calls aren’t returned, that says something about you and how you are coming across to the listener (unimportant or difficult, usually).

I’m not trying to give you a complex. But if you are worried that your voicemail messages are not being well received, there are steps you can take. Like email and jury trials, a great voicemail message is an art. Yet, you can master it with just a little effort and these tips.

Tip 1: Get to the Point

Have you ever watched a spell-binding preacher? I was in a hospital waiting room last Sunday and Joel Osteen was on TV. I had never seen him before. I was immediately struck by his effortless and masterful communication. Every sentence he spoke was short, simple vocabulary and had a point.

Communication that gets attention is direct. A long rambling voicemail message loses the attention of the listener. It may also be deleted. And it undermines you as the speaker. If you want your voicemail message to be taken seriously, then you have to get to the point.

Tip 2: Prepare in Advance

If you want to be short and sweet, you must know what you are going to say before you say it. You probably have a mental agenda for your call. Take 30 seconds and write it down in outline form.  You should use that outline as a guide when you leave your message.

Tip 3: Speak Clearly

Speak slowly and clearly if you want people to hear and mentally digest your message. You may be having a busy day, but hurrying through a message indicates that you don’t care about what you are saying or that you are nervous. Additionally, a message that is difficult to understand is difficult to act on.

Tip 4: Make Your Desires Known

This is important: your message should state what you want. I personally do not return the call of anyone who does not say why they need me to call them back. I’m not curious enough to find out if they don’t care enough to tell me. I personally find phone calls to be exhausting. I am not motivated to engage in them for their own sake.

Stating your purpose is selling me on the idea of calling back. You should, “Ask for the sale.” What is it that you want the person who receives the message to do and when? A voicemail message that gets attention is one that provides clarity when it comes to the desired action. Don’t be coy.

Tip 5: Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another key in crafting a voicemail message that gets attention. What message is the most likely to appeal to the person receiving it? Targeting your message is the best way to get a response. Consider shaping and changing your message to fit the recipient’s personality and expectations.

Tip 6: Be Confident

You should never leave a voicemail message that sounds as though you are unsure of what you are saying.  All your messages should sound as though you believe what you say, believe in yourself and have confidence that your message will be well received. Otherwise, why would you ever bother leaving the message in the first place?

By the way, this goes for all telephone calls. Before you pick up the phone you should have a clear idea of what you are going to say and why. In other words:

  • Know what you want
  • Know how you are going to ask for it
  • Say what you mean
  • Say it clearly and confidently
  • Respect your audience
  • Get to the point

That’s all there is to it!

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